Supporting Local News

Council under fire for lack of transparency on cancelled housing contract


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Council under fire for lack of transparency on cancelled housing contract Council under fire for lack of transparency on cancelled housing contract

From the Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has come in for stinging criticism for its failure to reveal why a contract for a 58-unit social housing development had to be terminated last June.

This comes as it was revealed that the development, at Garraí Beag in Ballybane, will not be completed before mid-2024 – despite construction getting underway over two years ago.

A spokesperson for the Council refused to comment specifically on why the contract was terminated, citing ‘legal reasons’.

As previously revealed by the Galway City Tribune, legal proceedings are pending on the matter, after the City Council parted ways with Glenman Corporation, the contractor that successfully tendered for the social housing development at Rocklands Avenue.

An Rabharta Glas-Green Left representative for Galway City East, Conor Dowd, hit out at the local authority for its lack of transparency on the matter.

“They keep referring to legal issues, but the public have a right to know what’s happening.

“This is symptomatic of a systemic issue in Galway City Council with housing and transparency. These 58 houses are just a small percentage of the social housing that’s needed in the city and even that has now been caught up in bureaucratic red tape,” said Mr Dowd.

Meanwhile, Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) confirmed this week that local representatives had received correspondence from the Director of Housing at City Hall stating that efforts would get underway to secure a new contractor this month.

“The contract will go back to e-Tenders in September and a contractor should be appointed in early 2023, and it will take 12 to 14 months to complete the properties. This would see the first properties occupied in 2024.

“This would take a total of four years to deliver 52 properties at the site. I am taking Covid into consideration, but it’s really not an acceptable delivery time for the people waiting for home on our housing list,” said Cllr Cheevers.

The east side councillor said he had written to his party colleague, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, to seek an enquiry into what went wrong with the Garraí Beag development.

Conor Dowd said the Council continued to deny the public access to information and said the local authority had this week refused to release details surrounding the contract which he requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The Council Executive owe it to the public and to themselves to make public the nature of the issue at Garraí Beag, since it is public money being spent on what is supposed to be social housing. Accountability and transparency are essential components of a properly functioning democracy,” said Mr Dowd.

In response to questions from this newspaper, a spokesperson for Galway City Council said it had invoked ‘Clause 12’ of its contract with the developer to terminate the contract but declined to give a specific reason for the termination. There are 12 possible reasons under this clause for which a contract can be terminated.

“After careful consideration, Galway City Council exercised its rights under Clause 12 of the Building Contract to terminate in the best interests of the project. Galway City Council cannot make any further comment for legal reasons,” said the spokesperson.

“Galway City Council is working with its advisers in relation to the procurement of a replacement contractor and are in the process of arranging for the necessary surveys and assessments required. For legal reasons, we cannot furnish any further details at this time.”

Garraí Beag, a mixture of four-bed, three-bed and two-bed houses, as well as duplex units and one and two-bed apartments, was originally due for completion in November 2021 but Covid-19 delayed the project. With work having recommenced post-Covid, the plug was pulled three months ago when the contract with Glenman was terminated.

Government funding for the €10.7 million project was committed in 2018 and construction began in early 2020.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up