Tipperary County Council Housing Policy in need of urgent and radical reform,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that Local Authorities nationwide, including Tipperary County Council, have completely lost their way in terms of the provision of social or affordable housing. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the latest Report from the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) concluded that Local Authorities may be deliberately leaving properties vacant for long periods so as to qualify for particular funding schemes rather than use up the authority’s internal funds:

“This latest Report is utterly damning on so many levels. It points to the absolute failure of the local authorities to demonstrate a readiness to address the housing problem with the kind of urgency that is required.

Instead of using all available resources we have a game being played between the Councils and the Department in effort to keep cash or financial reserves high but which leaves tenants and people on long term housing lists at a complete disadvantage.

I simply cannot understand how voluntary housing bodies like the ones I have been involved with for a number of years now, can draw up plans and deliver quality affordable housing when the councils with all their money can take almost ten times longer to get projects off the ground and available.

This latest NOAC Report, A Review of the Management and Maintenance of Local Authority Housing, also raises several other serious questions that Tipperary Council need to address.

For example, why did Tipperary Council Council say that the condition of its housing stock was not surveyed at regular intervals for the year which the Report covers?

We might also ask why there was no comprehensive survey of all stock at specified intervals and neither was is it done on a rolling basis.

Another issue the Report notes is that for 2014 Tipperary Council was only one of two local authorities in the country that did not provide any breakdown of figures for Contractor Maintenance Expenditure.

All of these issues and the fact that the Council that just does not seem equipped or willing to truly put people first is deeply disturbing and is something that must be addressed as a matter of the greatest urgency,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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