Supporting Local News

More than 200 vacant council houses in Galway city and county

There are currently 207 vacant council-owned properties in Galway city and county, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The figures show there are 127 empties in the City Council area and a further 80 in the County Council’s jurisdiction – including 23 in Tuam.

The data was released to Aontú and the party’s Tuam area representative, Luke Silke, who described the situation as “infuriating”.

Between city and county there are currently 7,583 applicants or ‘households’ on the housing waiting list.

Mr Silke said: “When I asked City Hall how much on average it would cost, per house, to bring them back into use they gave me a figure of a mere €25,000 – this is nothing, especially when compared with the huge public monies we are forking out to private landlords to accommodate public clients.

“There are currently 3,414 people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment in Galway [City] – this is where the local authority pays the rent, or a percentage of it, to a private landlord to accommodate a person seeking housing.

“There are 799 people in the county availing of the Rental Accommodation Scheme, which is similar in nature. The RAS scheme in Galway since 2018 has cost taxpayers nearly €30 million. The total cost of emergency homeless beds in the city and county is a further €9.5 million.

“It infuriates me that I and other local politicians have to turn around and tell young families in my Local Electoral Area who are crying to me for a house, that the council will do little for them, when I know there are 23 council houses lying idle in my hometown,” said Mr Silke.

He called for political differences to be set aside and both local authorities to be immediately brought back into use.

“Despite the polarised housing debate we see playing out these days, the fact remains that one of the greatest hoarders of vacant properties in this county is the Local Authority itself.

“It is not the council’s fault – they just don’t have the money – we need government schemes like the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant to be extended to local authorities. The cost to repair these houses is so miniscule in the context of the housing debate, it’s a no brainer,” he said.

He proposed that ‘public’ houses could be built for families on private property.

“Many people in Galway were reared in a council house which was constructed for their parents on land owned by their grandparents – rented back to them until such point as the ownership reverted from the council to the family.

“These set-ups were ideal for child-raising – they kept families near their relations,”  said Mr Silke.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up