Council left fighting rearguard action, to cover government housing inaction – O’Connell

In advance of Wexford County Council’s Special Meeting on Housing this Friday, Cllr Oisin O’Connell has criticised the overall lack of investment by central government, leading to what he calls a “rearguard fight” being left up to the County Council, and a vision skewed toward public funding of private over social solutions.
“The current New Ross District social housing stock is 1,137. The number of households seeking assistance outstanding is 578. That’s just over 50% more than we have in capital stock. What we are seeing is an increased use of private provision to fill not a gap, but a chasm that has been allowed to grow unchecked.”
“The total current private provision is at 234 – a bit less than half the outstanding seekers of housing. One concern I have is that the three-year housing plan is going to exacerbate that overall ratio in favour of public funds going to private over public provision, but without necessarily solving the existing problem.”
“The total private provision over three years is planned to be 437 units – this is a ratio of about 243% more than the planned increase in social housing of 180. Again, that’s over three years, on paper.”
“If we just look at the current unsatisfied demand for social housing in the district – 578 – even if, by some miracle, the combined new buildings and acquisitions (77), and private provisions (111) due for this year were to come online before the end of the year, that would be 188: less than one third (32.5%) of the people on the existing waiting list.”

“Let’s assume that everyone on the current waiting list gets housed, somehow, after a mere three years. We have the highest birthrate in the EU, and have haemmorrhaged 400,000 people over the last decade. Do we expect the birthrate to plummet, and to indefinitely export our people to benefit the slashing of local government funds, and a lack of vision for housing? Wexford County Council and residents are left fighting a rearguard action to make up for central government inaction.”
“Or perhaps that is their implicit mission statement: emigration as safety-valve for successive governments, who favour the increased direction of public funds to private interests, to solve social problems.”

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