More land is needed for houses - Aird

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said the maintenance of council houses was absolutely disgraceful at the moment; Cllr Mary Sweeney said the problem was the state houses were being left in by tenants; while Cllr Willie Aird declared that Laois County Council should have in reserve enough land to build more houses.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said the maintenance of council houses was absolutely disgraceful at the moment; Cllr Mary Sweeney said the problem was the state houses were being left in by tenants; while Cllr Willie Aird declared that Laois County Council should have in reserve enough land to build more houses.

Despite all these strong remarks, it was decided by the seven councillors of the Portlaoise Municipal District not to allocate any of the €140,000 discretionary budget towards addressing the problem of local housing.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful at the moment trying to get repairs done,” remarked Cllr Dwane Stanley, at the budget meeting of October 7 which had to be adjourned as the councillors could not agree on how to spend the budget.

“The biggest disappointment is the condition tenants leave the houses in,” declared Cllr Sweeney. “We’re getting houses back, but because of a lack of resources and staff we’re slow in moving them along.”

Chairman, Cllr Jerry Lodge pointed out that with only €140,000 available, they would be unable to even get three houses repaired.

“We have to put pressure on Laois County Council to get (more funds),” he said.

“We need more money in the housing budget,” agreed Cllr John Joe Fennelly, adding that repairs need to be carried out quicker.

“It might only be a leak under the sink, but by the time it’s dealt with it could be €4,000,” Cllr Fennelly said.

“We’ve got to make sure we have land in reserve, we don’t have any land to build even maisonettes,” said Cllr Willie Aird. “We have none, when did we open our last maisonettes? We need to address these problems, we need to be able to be in a position to say we can build 20 houses.”