Galway Advertiser 2005/2005_09_22/GA_2209_E1_025.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2005/2005_09_22/GA_2209_E1_025.pdf

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September 22 2005

Galway Advertiser

N E W S 25

Maggie Whyte, Bernie Kenny, and Ruth Devaney from Inter Group, (Ballybrit, Galway) attended the first Galway performance of Joey & Maria's Italian Wedding at the Great Southern Hotel on Saturday night. The event was held to celebrate the integration of Inter Group and Churchill Insurance.

Two thousand extra houses wouldn't be enough says Deputy Mayor Connolly
BY KERNAN ANDREWS Even if the Galway City Council built 2,000 extra houses it would still not be enough to meet the demands of the housing waiting list, according to Labour's Cllr Colette Connolly, who also described the city's Housing Plan 2004 - 2008 as "seriously flawed". At Monday's city council meeting, the Housing Plan for 2004 2008 came up for discussion. Labour has always been critical of the plan saying that it does not address the failure of the previous housing strategy 2001-2004 "of accommodating those on its existing Social Housing Waiting List within the period of the Strategy". According to Cllr Connolly, in 2004 there were still more than 1,577 applicants on the housing waiting list with a further 395 on the affordable list. Some 58 applicants are common to both. The housing plan 2004 - 2008 proposes to build 962 housing units, of which 390 will be affordable and 78 voluntary. Cllr Connolly says this would never meet the needs of those on the waiting list. The plan also seeks to provide a further 1,000 houses to be provided under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. Part V seeks to reserve 20 per cent of any development for social and affordable housing. Cllr Connolly says this figure is unrealistic as developers can choose to offer a financial contribution in lieu of social housing or provide land in lieu but on a different site. She says Labour's position has been "totally vindicated" with the confirmation from the city council that no house has been built under Part V to date. She added that even if the council were to acquire the 1,000 houses under Part V: "There will still be a shortfall of over 2,000 houses if we add the estimated 1,939 new housing applicants for the period 2004 - 2008 to the existing housing waiting list." Cllr Connolly, who is also chairperson of the Housing SPC, says that she welcomes the acknowledgement at last night's council meeting that the plan is "seriously flawed" and she has also welcomed the fact that the Mayor of Galway Cllr Brian Walsh has agreed to hold a special council meeting in October to discuss the housing situation. She also hopes that councillors will vote to increase the ratio of affordable to social houses to be built under the Part V. "The current ratio of 1:1 in the city development plan is totally unacceptable," she said, "given the vast majority of people on the waiting list are in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance and would not, therefore, be able to avail of the affordable housing option." She said: "If the city council is really serious about addressing the housing crisis I feel the council need to adopt a much more realistic plan."


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