The sale of a council owned house in Portlaoise that was refused by councillors last month, was approved in the July meeting, after they heard the Cork buyers were planning to move in, rather than rent it out.
No 366 Market Mews is to be sold for €65,000 to Michael and Michelle McGarr from Tankardstown, Cork.
At theJune meeting, councillors opposed the sale when they saw the buyers had a Cork address.
“We were involved in proposing that we buy these. When I look at this and see Cork… We’ve subsidised these houses. Is this an investment or a home? I’ve people coming to me on an hourly basis looking for a house. I’m opposing this.” Cllr Willie Aird said, supported by Cllr Caroline Dwane.
“I thought this was owner occupier. I’m withdrawing my proposal of this. It is disappointing that we didn’t have this information before, the fact that this wasn’t owner occupied.” she said.
At the July meeting, Director of Services Gerry Murphy said the couple are planning to live in the house.
“We were advised that they are moving here to be near to their family,” he said.
“Are we setting a precedent that the buyers have to be owner occupiers?” Cllr Brendan Phelan asked.
“We are not starting any precedent, it’s in your remit to decide,” answered Director of Services Gerry Murphy.
“I would like to welcome these ‘non-nationals’ to Portlaoise, as they are coming from the republic of Cork,” said Cllr Noel Tuohy.
Cllr Jerry Lodge proposed the sale, seconded by Cllr Tuohy.
The house is one of two remaining out of 17 in Maryborough Village that Laois County Council were obliged to buy under the ‘affordable’ housing scheme, a scheme that was dropped after the property crash.
A clause prevented the council from turning the empty houses into social housing, so they were sold off, despite the council having 13oo people waiting on their housing list.