WHILE the country is in the grip of a major housing crisis, 20 apartments over a supermarket in Macroom are empty and have been for the past 18 years.
The empty apartments are located over Dunnes on the Fair Green site, formerly home to Neville’s bakery and, despite numerous approaches by Cork County Council and voluntary housing bodies, the situation has remained in limbo.
FF TD Aindrias Moynihan said the apartments were built in 2005 and have been empty since day one and called for an immediate solution to ensure they can be occupied.
‘It’s absolutely scandalous that these apartments have been left idle for so long especially in the middle of a housing crisis,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘The supermarket chain went in as the main tenant and there had been talks before with Cork County Council and a voluntary housing agency about tenanting those apartments but it came to nothing.’
Deputy Moynihan said he too has made enquiries with the supermarket about the empty apartments but didn’t receive anything back. His sister, Cllr Gobnait Moynihan, raised the issue at a meeting in County Hall last May and spoke about how frustrating it was to see so many empty apartments in the town when there are so many people wanting to buy their own homes as well as the high demand for housing on the Council’s own housing list.
‘The director of housing Maurice Manning said at that meeting that numerous attempts had been made to progress the matter by Cork County Council and by various voluntary housing bodies but to date all attempts have proved unsuccessful,’ said Cllr Moynihan.
While acknowledging that the apartments are privately-owned and that it’s ultimately up to the supermarket to decide what happens to them, she is pushing for something to be done so that they would be lived in and not left empty.
‘I don’t mind what they do with the 20 apartments – rent, sell, or lease – just as long as they are being lived in. I want to see the lights on in these apartments as it is just desperate to see 20 unoccupied home just sitting there in the middle of a huge housing crisis.’
A spokesperson for Cork County Council said that it is aware that an Approved Housing Body (AHB) is in discussions with the owner of these properties.
‘It will ultimately be a decision of the property owner what they wish to do with these units.’
The Southern Star contacted the supermarket chain for a comment.
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