A local councillor has supported President Michael D Higgins’ recent comments on the housing crisis in Ireland.
President Higgins addressed the housing crisis in a forceful and emotional speech at the official opening of a new facility for young homeless people near Naas in Co Kildare on Tuesday calling it “a disaster” and “our great, great, great failure”.
“How republican is what we created? And isn’t it sometimes very much closer to the poor law system that we thought we were departing from. That is a real challenge,” Mr Higgins said.
It is believed that some ministers feel that the President overstepped the mark by making these comments, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said some of that he said was true.
Westport-based Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn said that he loved President Higgins’ speech.
“Finally a leader who is recognising the Housing situation as a ‘National Disaster’,” Cllr Flynn said.
“As a Councillor I particularly liked his criticisms of County Managers and Directors of Services for their failure over the last decade to deliver for people in the middle.
“Since Castlebar, Ballina and Westport Town Councils were abolished largely because of pressure from County Managers, not one Affordable House has been delivered in Mayo.”
Cllr Flynn says he cannot recall the last time that a compulsory purchase order was made on a derelict/vacant building in Westport and he cannot recall the last time small affordable sites were sold to local people who didn’t qualify for social housing so they could build their homes over five to 10 years.
“Mayo County Council is the owner of the most derelict properties in the county.
“I cannot comment on other counties but I can say for certain Mayo County Council has failed working people since the Town Councils were abolished.
“Well done Mr President, keep it lit.”