Cllr Noonan said that delays in the delivery of housing lay not with local authorities but within inefficiencies and red tape in his own Department
Green Party Councillor and Local Government spokesperson Malcolm Noonan has launched a stinging attack on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and his track record in office.
Following the Minister’s recent comments on local authority performance in delivering social housing, Cllr Noonan said that delays in the delivery of housing lay not with local authorities but within inefficiencies and red tape in his own Department. He said that rather than pulling powers from local councils, he would be better placed to give more autonomy to them in order to deliver quality housing at a faster pace.
"The Minister continues to look for scapegoats to blame for rising homelessness and lack of affordable or social housing, now he’s blaming local authorities," he said.
"I would propose that he would take a critical look at the workings of his own Department and to give councils more freedom to deliver housing, to frontload capital funding and to let us do what we do best; build good quality homes and communities."
Cllr Noonan said that the time lag between proposing a scheme and delivery could be as long as four years. He said that this was unacceptable and that many options existed in Kilkenny City and the county’s scheduled towns to construct or renovate innovative schemes that would eat into the housing list, freeing up more private rented dwellings and easing the pressure.
"Our housing and planning staff are exploring all options to deliver housing but the delays are coming from Minister Murphy’s department. I do think that we have the capacity to deliver a lot of housing in the city centre of Kilkenny, particularly on the brewery site but we need to rethink the whole model of development there’," he said.
"I am disappointed that Loughmacask was not advanced before the Western Environs as it should have been under the sequential rule in our Development Plan and I do have concerns around future water supply capacity to advance housing on the scale required. But our situation is not unique; there needs to be greater collaboration between the Department of Housing, local authorities and Irish Water to ensure that there is a seamless approach to reaching targets under Rebuilding Ireland. Minister Murphy’s comments at this time are unhelpful and counterproductive to such an aspiration."