A Galway TD has called on the Land Development Agency to guarantee that it will develop publicly-owned lands at the Docks for social housing.
Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly, called for a planning and construction timeline to be made public.
“I want clarification as to where the process is. In terms of what land is available for residential development? Where precisely it is? Finally, a confirmation that it will be used solely for public housing,” she stated.
The Government has given a role to the Land Development Agency, to work closely with local authorities in relation to housing. Deputy Connolly expressed her belief that the LDA is working closely with the Galway docks.
She noted that: “The Land Development Agency has the remit to build public housing. They call it social, affordable housing on the inner docks, how far those negotiations are, I don’t know.”
Deputy Connolly explained: “There is quite a substantial number of acres of land between the inner and the outer dock” that could be used for public housing. The LDA have planning permission before An Bord Pleanála for a number of years now for a major development.”
“Why is it in front of Bord Pleanála for so long I don’t know. We’ve lost track. So where are we at then?
“I think the LDA have to confirm that they will use that land for public housing and there will be no private housing on it,” she added.
Deputy Connolly urged for an audit to clearly show “how much public land we have in Galway that is owned by the city council or by another entity”.
The Independent TD highlighted that no private housing should be built during the housing crisis. She noted: “Any public land that is there and I use it in relation to the docks, the Ceannt Station, should be made available for public housing.”
She pointed out that “Ceannt Station has 12 or 14 acres of land in the centre of the city” which should be confirmed for public housing.
Flawed housing policy
She criticised that “successive governments have created the housing crisis”. The Independent Deputy said she was “hot under the collar about a number of things here in Galway; housing, health and public transport”.
Deputy Connolly noted that the persistence of the housing crisis is evidence that “we had let the crisis develop and stood idly by. We stopped building houses in Galway in 2009 as a City Council”.
Additionally, the Independent TD highlighted that the housing crisis in Galway is worse than in Dublin. Consequently, she called for the “maximum use of public land to be made for public housing”.
“To me, the housing crisis in Galway is the same as in Dublin if not worse. I actually think it is worse in Galway,” she added.
She emphasised that in order to address the housing crisis, all public land in Galway must be retained for public housing.
“Now to rectify that housing crisis, the most basic thing is to keep public land and public ownership for public housing. That might balance the market,” she highlighted.
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