By Kieran O’Mahony
THERE was a broad welcome from councillors at a meeting of Cork County Council when it was announced that 20% of all two-bedroom properties will now go to single people.
Currently, Cork County Council has 6,974 applicants on its housing waiting list, of which 2,983 are single.
At a recent Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meeting, it was proposed and agreed by members that single people should be considered for a certain proportion of two-bedroom properties, along with couples and single parents with one or two children.
Cllr Andrias Moynihan said he supported the SPC proposed plan.
‘It’s very important that they are prioritising single people and especially men, as it gives them an opportunity to get a foot in.
‘But it’s the availability of units that is the problem and we need to see bricks and mortar and actual progress on houses,’ said Cllr Moynihan. Cllr Joe Carroll questioned where these properties are going to come from.
‘The problem is that there aren’t enough houses and this is 20% of nothing, due to the lack of available units,’ said Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Des O’Grady also supported the move, but pointed out that it didn’t go far enough, while Cllr Deirdre Forde called for a full debate on the housing issue and for ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to supplying units for housing.
She also suggested the possibility of downsizing for pensioners who are living in three or four-bed houses.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn pointed out that single men and women are the forgotten people on the housing lists.
‘Now one in five will get housing and it’s a move in the right direction, but we should have a full Council meeting on it. This move is little or no solace for people waiting on the list,’ he said.
Cllr Pat Murphy said it was an ongoing problem with a big demand for accommodation for single people, and would have preferred a higher percentage allocated.
Cllr Michael Creed said it was amazing that there are nearly 3,000 forgotten people and asked how many two-bedroom units did Cork County Council have on its books.
Cllr Bob Ryan asked where the 20% was coming from.
‘It’s 20% of what? What are we going to allocate this from?’ he wondered.
‘This isn’t addressed in the document and I agree with Cllr Forde for the necessity for a full debate on the issue,’ added Cllr Ryan.
Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said that the Council proposes to implement this change to the allocations policy as a temporary measure for a six-month period initially, and it would be reviewed after.