FIVE hundred and five people are on the housing list in Shannon, according to a report at this week’s meeting of the Town Council.
Councillor Sean McLoughlin put down a motion asking how many were on the list, what type of accommodation is required and how many units will be allocated in the next four years.
In response, Liam O’Connor, senior staff officer with the county council’s housing section as well as Shannon town clerk, gave a written reply.
He stated that there were 505 on the list and he also provided a description of the local need and the likely future allocation. “The types of accommodation required are generally two or three bedroom units. Approximately 3% of housing applicants for the Shannon area would have a requirement for accommodation comprising of four bedroom units.
“In the current economic climate it is unlikely that any large scale new housing schemes will receive approval from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Accordingly, alternative social housing options will continue to be used to meet housing needs in the Shannon area, including the Rental Accommodation Scheme, Social Leasing Scheme and the filling of casual vacancies. It is not possible to predict how many units will be allocated in the next four years.”
Councillor Tony McMahon said he felt it should be possible to make some inroads on the figure of 505. “Five hundred and five is a lot to have looking for houses. Opportunities have been missed in the past and there may be opportunities now with units empty and prices keen.”
There may still be a need for house building in certain areas, Councillor Patricia McCarthy claimed, but a lack of imaginative thinking from Government was preventing an improvement. “The country is looked at in a blanket manner and the Government are not capable of differentiating,” she claimed.
Councillor Gerry Flynn said he was dubious about the figure of 505, as he claimed that when he had sought similar figures a year earlier the number was over 900. In response, Mr O’Connor said the figures that Councillor Flynn had received previously may have been in relation to the Shannon electoral area as a whole rather than just Shannon town.
Councillor Mary Brennan said that people need to be on the housing list to qualify for rent supplement, so the actual number of people who want housing, as opposed to the figure of 505 on the list, might be quite a bit lower.