Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Local Government Performance Indicators and Public Spending Code: National Oversight and Audit Commission

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I want to look at how many complaints came in and how many were completed and, if they were not completed, when will they be completed. I would ask NOAC to look at adding to the report. If people are contacting the local authority with complaints, whether these are about mould, leaks, having no heating or whatever, just by looking at the money we are not getting a true reflection on completion. I would encourage NOAC to look at that with local authorities. I was in a house the other day and the person has been living in their house for 37 years. It is a beautiful local authority house. The council insulated the roofs and put in the vents. For five years they have had a leak in the roof and the bedrooms are covered in mould. This is a lovely, well-kept house. They wash it, they clean it and they paint it. Yet, this has been happening for five years. How can a local authority be allowed to have a housing maintenance issue roll on for five years? I would imagine that there are more cases.

Following on from that is in relation to what Mr. McCarthy touched on earlier about vacancy. In my constituency houses have been vacant for years. Unfortunately, Cork City Council performed very badly and it was at 75 weeks. I spoke to officials recently who said they have gotten that figure down to the low 60s and they are going to work on it, which is something I welcome. Yet, some local authorities, and Mr. McCarthy touched on this, are doing excellent work but others are not. What are we doing with regard to local authorities?

One of the issues I concede regarding Cork City Council is that it has to come up to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in Dublin, give a list of the vacant properties and see what funding it gets. There is huge bureaucracy and red tape that should be removed. Is there any way that NOAC could have a list of the vacant properties and especially long-term vacant properties? Every local authority should be able to outline how many properties have been vacant for under a year, how many have been vacant for two years and how many properties have been vacant for more than three years. Is that something that NOAC could look at as well?


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