Government Housing Strategy under Increased Scrutiny

The government’s housing strategy is coming under increasing scrutiny as a result of claims that only 315 houses have been set aside for social and affordable housing since 2001. The claims come from a report by the Labour Party, which states that 200,000 houses were built over the last 3 years and that just over 300 of these were of the social and afford­able variety. The government’s failure to allocate significant funding to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and local government (a 9% increase on last year) in the recent budget estimates has also been criticized by opposition parties.

At present there are 60,000 people nationally on the housing lists. Recent information has revealed that of the 80,000 houses that were exempted from the provisions of social housing under the 2001 Housing Act, developers refunded the exchequer on only 400 of these houses. A significant number of applications for social housing come from unmarried mothers, who are automatically eligible for local authority housing once they have given birth to three children.

The Affordable Housing Scheme was introduced in 1999. To be eligible for affordable housing under the scheme applicants must be in need of housing and meet the income eligibility test, or be a person whose application for local authority housing has been approved by the local authority, or be a local authority ten­ant or tenant purchaser who wishes to buy a private house and to return their present house to the local authority, or be a tenant for more than one year of a house provided by a voluntary body under the Rental Subsidy Scheme who wishes to buy a private house and return their present house to the voluntary body.

The house is then purchased outright by the buyer, by way of a mortgage provided by the local authority of up to 95% of the sale price of the house. Loans are advanced over 25 years and the amount of the loan to be provided by the local authority is determined on an individual basis. Normally monthly outgoings on the loan should not exceed one third of the net household income, according to local councils.

The fee for entry to the scheme varies depending on the local authority. Most councils charge around 50 Euros for entry to the scheme. However the fee can rise to 100 euros as in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council. It is not clear if unsuccess­ful applicants who re-apply for social housing have to pay the fee a second time.

M50 Billion Euro Scandal

The massive over spend on the M50 upgrade will be at least 500 million Euro and could be as high as one billion, with the unnecessary work on lead in roads according to the National Transport Users’ Association.

The added traffic from the Port Tunnel, the traffic growth as part of the Euro route from Belfast to Rosslare and the completion of the linkup with the Nll will contribute to the full use of the new extra lane on the M50 and therefore the lane will reach full capacity in a short time.

Upgrading of all the bridges on the M50 will be a waste of time and funding, as the extra lane will have already reached capacity.

Traffic into Dublin is set to double when all the major roads are upgraded to motorway standard. Many of these roads are due to be completed over the next few years. Along with the massive housing programme on the outskirts of Dublin and in the surrounding counties this will cause massive congestion for the foreseeable future if steps are not taken to address this problem.

There is a solution, which is easy, simple and Quick. The Industrial corridor on the Outskirts of Dublin is already visible in circle form, from Sandyford to the Airport via Tallaght, City West, Baldonnell, Leixlip and the Blanchardstown Industrial area. It just requires a (west circular) road and a transport link to make it effective. This area has the potential of up to a million jobs.

Part of this road is already built and most of the Interchanges are completed, it requires the road to be fully linked up. This road would act as a by-pass and a service road for the Industrial corridor taking pressure off the city centre and greatly reducing congestion in the surrounding areas in a relatively short time span.

The country needs is the upgrading of the N52 across the Midlands for the benefit of the local areas and their economy.

Another M50 orbital ring road would add further to the city’s problems and it may put the solution to the capitals’ congestion back for several decades.

Bringing everything to Dublin is not the answer. The next ring road that the country needs is the upgrading of the N52 across the Midlands for the benefit of the local areas and their economy.

It is Government Policy to Abolish Ground Rent

Since the making of our Ground Rent Submission to the all­ party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution Property Rights, the Ground Rent issue has moved on dramatically due to the Shirley case in the High Court.

This involved the rights of business people to purchase the freehold of their business properties, which the Ground landlord Shirley had objected to. The Shirley Estate case also includes a Constitutional Case against Ireland and the Attorney General.

This major case is delaying the introduction of overdue legislation, which will affect all tenants in the State.

It is in the interest of you and your Residents’ Association to keep in touch with the Ground Rent Sub-Committee.