Lack of Affordable Houses in Kildare highlighted in Dáil

Independent TD for Kildare South Dr Cathal Berry TD highlighted important issues with the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien in the Dáil last week when he raised the unaffordability of housing in County Kildare and the issue of housing mix with the Minister.

‘I drove from Portarlington today through to Monasterevin and Rathangan and on to Newbridge. It’s great to see building sites back open again, machinery moving very early in the morning, people moving with purpose, laying blocks and building high-quality housing to a high environmental standard. Fantastic to see the construction industry back up and running building houses that are desperately, desperately needed.’

‘My concern is that the houses I passed this morning are unaffordable for many people, including soldiers, gardaí, nurses, teachers and people working in the private sector. Greater housing supply and financial supports are needed to ensure that housing is affordable and accessible to everyone.’

Deputy Berry raised the issue of housing mix with the Minister also, commenting, ‘I believe housing mix is a good thing, however, I am completely against any bulk purchasing of housing estates or large accommodation, particularly by vulture funds. I am also not in favour of local authorities or approved housing bodies buying up 100% of estates either. It’s not a good way to do business and is storing up problems for the future. I am being contacted by many constituents who want to buy a private house but cannot do so because there are so few available. When an estate is coming on stream within, say, three months, people are finding that the local authority has purchased the entire estate and they cannot buy a house.’

Cathal Berry TD has also called on the Minister to consider prioritising military families who are on social housing lists for sites that were once military installations and barracks, ‘The Land Development Agency has a number of land banks under its control, some of which are former military installations and barracks. Some 25 years ago, mostly in 1998, soldiers and their families were evicted at short notice and the land banks were handed over to the State. The land is now in the custody of the Land Development Agency. If the agency develops these sites, which include Devoy Barracks in Naas, I would like to see military families prioritised who are on the social housing lists considering the historical connection to these land banks and sites.’