THE Government was offered a shovel-ready housing project in Skibbereen, but it turned it down, independent Deputy Michael Collins told the Dáil.
‘We tried our best,’ he said. ‘The local authority advised on planning and everything was sorted to try to get it across the line, but it was told “No”, that another site was being looked at. However, nothing had been done on that site. For me, it epitomised the mindset. There are many announcements, but nothing else besides.’
Speaking on the new Home Build Finance Ireland Bill, 2018, he said the situation is the same for those on the massive housing waiting list in Clonakilty.
‘When I was a member of the local council three years ago, people were promised that a number of houses would be built for the families who were waiting,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately, not a sod has yet been turned.
‘We were promised that 12 houses would be purchased in Enniskeane. Recently, I met one couple in Clonakilty who, with many more, had set their hopes on moving away from Clonakilty to Enniskeane, but we have now found out that the negotiations did not work out and that the houses are for sale for €170,000. There is nothing happening in my constituency in that regard.
‘For a lot of people I am painting a picture of a very bleak future. Some are looking for planning permission, but finding it extremely difficult to obtain it. They meet a block wall everywhere they go.’
Deputy Collins said he had called on the Government numerous times to invest in existing properties.
‘There are countless vacant spaces available above commercial units that need to be refurbished to provide much-needed residential accommodation in West Cork,’ he said.
‘One only has to drive through villages and towns such as Ballinadee, Ballineen, Dunmanway, Goleen, Kealkil, Leap, Schull and Skibbereen to see the pattern of vacant spaces above shop units.’