The sod has been turned to mark the start of construction of a new council housing estate in Portlaoise, the first in the town since the building crash.
Conniberry Way, off the Old Knockmay Road, will have 30 three bed houses and three maisonettes and is expected to receive its first tenants by spring of 2018.
Construction will start at the end of October and is being carried out by a Laois contractor, Michael Kelly & Sons Ltd from Castletown.
Both the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan from Laois, and the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney, arrived to the site to turn the sod last Monday October 3.
“Today is a very important day for the people of Portlaoise and surrounding areas. The construction of these units will help to create local employment, the benefits of which will be felt by businesses in our community,” Minister Flanagan said.
He said that there are five housing schemes at various stages of progress in Laois.
“Once all completed they will deliver 85 units of accommodation at a cost of around €13 million,” he said, commending the council for their work.
Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the scheme.
“I am very happy to approve over €4.7 million for this social housing project in Portlaoise, which will deliver much needed accommodation for people in need of a home,” he said.
John Mulholland Chief Executive of Laois County Council noted there is “an urgent and significant demand for good quality housing in Portlaoise”.
“Conniberry Way will be a high quality development that will be delivered as part of the Council’s commitment to meet pressing social housing needs,” he said.
“The provision of social housing is not just about bricks and mortar, but about giving families the opportunity to live in a good quality home within a safe and secure community and having access to a good quality environment,” Mr Mulholland said.
The contract to build the homes had been signed on Friday September 23.
Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom Mulhall welcomed the development and the role that Laois County Council is playing in the delivery of social housing units under the new Action Plan for Housing.
“This scheme will meet the needs of the homeless, the elderly, the disabled and families with general housing needs in our county,” he said.
It is the first council estate to start in Laois this year.
Six units were finished in Clodiagh Way, Clonaslee in September 2015.