WEST Cork’s islands could see a population boost, thanks to a renovation scheme that funds works on empty or derelict houses.
The repair and lease scheme provides money for work on such properties which are then leased back to the Council.
However, at a recent local authority meeting, some councillors said that the public needed to be made more aware of the scheme and that the cap of €40,000 needed to be increased.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), called on the Council to write to government departments and said more money needed to be allocated to the scheme to take into account the increased cost of construction work on the islands.
‘The costs are expensive when it comes to doing up buildings on the islands and contractors have to factor in extra charges, like transporting the materials by boat and also the possibility of machinery getting stuck there,’ said Cllr Hayes.
‘The cap for this scheme is €40,000 and there is no uptake on it.’ Cllr Hayes added that figures from the Council’s housing waiting list showed that there were 42 applicants who had a preference for living on the islands, but there are not enough houses available.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said if there was extra money for the scheme then they would see more houses on the islands being done up.
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said it was important that they support the people living in the seven islands off the West Cork coast.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) called for the Council to assign a designated team to tell people about it.
‘People I meet have never heard of it – we should put in place a pilot project in each of our Municipal Districts. It’s a tremendous scheme but people don’t know about it,’ said Cllr O’Flynn.
Cllr Hayes thanked councillors for their support for his motion and said that the Council clearly need to work on an awareness campaign. He also said he would allow an amendment to his motion calling for an increase in the cap for the scheme.