Supporting Local News

Council asked to keep cash from land sales in locality

Galway County Council should look at selling off its land and derelict houses and put the money towards usable accommodation and services in the same area those sales occurred.

That suggestion came at this month’s Galway County Council meeting when councillors were asked to approve the sale of an eight-acre site at Tullybrattan, 3km outside Gort, to Patrick Brady for €33,000.

The land acquired from the Land Commission was deemed too costly for the local authority to develop for housing. It would involve access onto a regional road, something which went against a policy objective contained in the next draft County Development Plan.

The Council received two valuations, one for €27,500, the other for €27,000, so a bid of €33,000 following an open call for tenders was considered good value, according to acting director of services in the infrastructure and operations unit, Derek Pender. Other tenders received that were conditional on getting planning permission were discounted.

Councillor Joe Byrne (FG) called for a schedule of Council-owned land and houses. Noting that sales could generate a lot of money, he called for the money to be ringfenced in a fund for discretionary funding in the area.

Independent Councillor Tim Broderick said until the local authority had a list of its assets, it could not know the value of them.

“How can we balance the books?”

Cllr Jimmy McClearn (FG) said there were a lot of derelict houses owned by the Council that might not be worth doing up. These could be sold to members of the public who were desperate to buy their own home. They could now apply for a grant of up to €50,000 to renovate.

“In my own area there are a number of houses beyond economic benefit in terms of repairing. They are eyesores, a long time unoccupied. Somebody would buy them if put on the market.”

Chief Executive Jim Cullen said the Council did have a record of all the land and property it owned, but it involved thousands of entries on the property register.

He would investigate whether it was feasible to collate this for councillors.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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