A Lettereknny electoral area councillor has labelled Housing Minister Willie Penrose TD, “pure arrogant” after he rejected their calls for a meeting with him to discuss the withdrawal of a housing scheme initiative.
Councillor Liam Blaney, speaking at Letterkenny Electoral Area in Milford, he said Minister Penrose refusal to meet the local authority to discuss the end of the “Specific Instance (SI)” housing scheme was “very disappointing”.
The meeting heard that up to 20 Donegal people are directly affected after they signed over areas of their land to the Council for them to build the SI houses for them but now the scheme has ended leaving a deficit of €1.6m to complete the works.
It also heard Minister Penrose failure to meet the members was because he was “too busy”.
Cllr. Blaney said: “I’m very disappointed and annoyed that we got a point blank no. It was pure arrogant that he came back with that answer.”
He explained: “Its the cheapest form of housing that can be supplied. They sign over the land and the council builds a small house and those people expect those houses to be built.”
Raising the subject Cllr Dessie Larkin said they wrote to Minister Penrose’s a number of times seeking a meeting on the scheme withdrawal and he believe the response they received “unfortunate and wrong”.
“If he is too busy over the next five years then there is something wrong. We can’t take this lying down. There is a deficit of €1.6m, thats what we are looking at in the SI Housing deficit in Donegal. I’ve heard of ‘Where’s Wally’ but I’m asking ‘where’s Willie?’” Cllr Larkin stated.
The SI scheme involved applicants who sign over a plot of land to the Council and in turn a low cost house is provided for them on the site. Currently there are at least 18 people directly affected but the withdrawal of the scheme.
The members proposed they would contact Minister Dinny McGinley, Deputy Joe McHugh and Senator Jimmy Harte to help secure a meeting with Minister Penrose on the issue.
Cllr. Mick Quinn said the scheme the scheme was “very important” and asked if there was now an issue arising where more legal cost would be incurred to sign the land back to the owners.
Area manager for Corporate and Housing Services, Eunan Kelly, said currently there are nine houses under construction and 20 at the stage of “advanced planning” with seven of them ready for tender.
Cllr Larkin said each of the individual cases should presented to the minister as they were “real people”.
Cllr. Ciaran Brogan said they should approach the matter with a “gung ho attitude”.
“I think the should be a special case for Donegal. We won’t accept no and we need to be strong on this. Our directions should be ‘we don’t accept this’”, Cllr Brogan said.