ATHY Municipal District councillor Thomas Redmond has said that housing is at crisis point in south Kildare.
In a recent statement, Cllr Redmond argued that the government’s answer to solving this crisis is “making zero progress” on what he describes as a “humanitarian issue” and highlighted the latest social housing statistics for Athy from the county council’s housing department.
The figures, current as of 20 December 2018, show that in the Athy Municipal District, 392 applications have been made for one-bed homes, 254 for two-bed properties, and 227 for three-bed. A total of 27 applicants are in need of a home with four bedrooms.
“It makes for grim reading,” he said.
Cllr Redmond criticised Fine Gael over the provision of housing, referencing what he described as the governing party’s failure to meet the needs of people in the area. “Those needs aren’t being matched by the government. They really aren’t,” he told the Kildare Nationalist .
Reflecting on a pressing matter as we approach the end of the five-year period since the last local elections in 2014 (which introduced sweeping reforms across local government), the Sinn Féin councillor said: “We have been promised three or four significant housing developments and not even a house or even a sod has been turned on these as we come into year five.” In his statement, Cllr Redmond mentioned the Flinters, Dominican and Gallow Hill sites ( all in Athy) in particular.
Describing the need for housing in the area as “significant”, Cllr Redmond said that he finds it difficult to understand why it is taking so long for the council itself to build homes. Demand for two-bedroom accommodation as well as homes for older people has “skyrocketed,” he noted.
“We’ve had [the Minister] down three different times at three different sites announcing that houses were going to be built,” he said. “And we’re two and three years later and nothing done, nothing delivered… it’s ridiculous at this stage.”
Alongside buying or building on land on the Dublin Road side of Athy – and installing the required services – Cllr Redmond has suggested that the minister visit the town to take a walk through and view the housing requirements there first-hand.
The issue of social housing was also previously tabled at the December meeting of Athy Municipal District, when concerns were raised over what was described as Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) applicants from Kildare being turned away from neighbouring counties despite the availability of suitable accommodation.
At that meeting Cllr Redmond described the matter as scandalous, while Cathaoirleach Aoife Breslin spoke about a number of people she described as being made homeless or put in severe hardship. One of the reasons why people were seeking homes elsewhere, councillors heard, was the lack of homes available for rent in Athy.