Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government should commit to local authorities providing housing

Pringle: Government should commit to local authorities providing housing

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said that with Government commitment, local authorities could provide the solution to the housing crisis.

Deputy Pringle said: “You would think that it shouldn’t need to be said again, but there is a need for a massive housing building programme across the board, in every county and every town.”

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday evening, the deputy said last year there were more than 1,600 people on the list for 34 houses that were built in Donegal town. It would take 40 of those developments to address that list, he said.

“That shows the extent of the housing problem that we’re dealing with,” he said, adding that the list was artificially low.

Deputy Pringle said: “The Department only allows people with an income below €25,000 a year on to the list in Donegal, with an increase for children, which means anyone with an income above €28,000 a year in Donegal will not get on the list at all. This means that there are thousands of people who will never get to buy a home in Donegal and will not have a hope of getting a council house, either.

“And that is a sad failing of our government,” he said. “We have to have a government that is committed to local authorities providing the solution to the housing issue if we are going to deal with it.”

The deputy said: “We have the Department overseeing the delivery of housing down to the smallest development, so it’s no wonder we have a housing crisis.

“I believe the Department should be providing overall direction to local authorities, not micro-managing the delivery of houses.” He said every stage of a housing development must be approved by the Department.

“What knowledge would somebody in the Custom House have in relation to a site in Glencolmcille, or Burtonport, or any number of towns in Donegal?” Deputy Pringle asked.

Instead, he said, the Department should give local authorities the allocation needed to build houses, audit the work to ensure it meets the county need, and let the local authorities deliver houses.

Deputy Pringle said: “Eventually, make councillors responsible for the delivery, and then we would have real local development rather than the sham we have at the minute, where councillors pretend that they’re in control of the council, and then wring their hands when the council does not deliver.

“Overall, that would be better for the community, local authorities and government, because then government and the Dáil could start to focus on other priorities, while putting decision-making and delivery where it should be, at the local level.”

The deputy said: “And it would be possible to do that as well. I think it would take a mindset change, it would take a government change, but it could happen.”

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