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Number of vacant properties in Mayo ‘immoral’ – Director of Services

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‘UNACCEPTABLE AND UNSUSTAINABLE’ Tom Gilligan, Mayo County Council.

Anton McNulty

The number of vacant houses in Mayo is a blight on the county and immoral in the middle of a housing crisis.
That is the view of Tom Gilligan, Director of Services with Mayo County Council, who told members of Mayo County Council that the lack of rental accommodation will have an impact on homeowners affected by pyrite in the county.
At a special meeting of Mayo County Council last Monday, called to discuss the pyrite crisis, the official described the number of vacant homes in the county ‘as a blight’.
“It is a blight on our county. The census indicated that there are over 10,000 vacant homes and I do believe it is immoral and regrettable … we are in the middle of a housing crisis and we need as much accommodation as possible.
“It has been mentioned by a few members the lack of rental accommodation in this county and you only have to look at Daft.ie to see in the region of 30 houses to rent in the whole county. It is unacceptable and unsustainable and we will never solve the housing crisis with such a lack of rental accommodation in the county. It is deplorable at the moment and it is not just impacting those affected by defective blocks but every member of society,” he said.

€50,000 grant
During the meeting, Cllr Neil Cruise suggested that a €50,000 grant should be made available for people to renovate vacant housing for rent. He said that people affected by the pyrite will find it difficult to find accommodation to rent in the county and this grant will make property currently vacant unavailable to rent.
Crossmolina-based councillor Michael Loftus called for a separate office in Mayo County Council to deal solely with the pyrite problem, similar to what happened in Donegal County Council. He said that housing staff in the council were receiving unacceptable abuse from some people affected by the pyrite problem and acknowledged their hard work under difficulty circumstances.

NDP criticised
Meanwhile at the same meeting, Ballina-based councillor Annie May Reape blasted the recently announced National Development Plan for failing to feature any significant project for Mayo or Ballina.
“The National Development Plan was launched with great fanfare in Cork. It is a lot of money, €165 billion. It is regarded as the largest and greenest ever delivered in Ireland but not one thing is there for the west of Ireland. I was never so annoyed as I was today, not one thing for Ballina, the largest town in the county.
“The N26 doesn’t feature nor does the Ballina orbital route. I’d say chairman there will be a lot of resignations after today. Here we are fighting for 100 percent redress for these people. I think it is the most deplorable state of affairs and I tell you the anger is only starting,” she said.