Seanad debates

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Commencement Matters

Housing Provision

2:30 pm

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Renua Ireland) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for her response. I acknowledge she is concerned; the Government is concerned as is everybody else. However, we require action rather than concern. Will the Minister of State simply reflect on the fact that it is unacceptable that houses should be vacant for so long? This might require a change in the law. Certain housing applicants would be willing to move into a house and carry out minor repairs. However, houses are not being let because a lock or a pane of glass is broken or there is a minor internal difficulty. I ask the Minister of State to reflect on that.

Will her officials also examine the current housing application form? Many people apply for a council house, as they are entitled to do, to qualify for the HAP scheme but the council housing application form is detailed. It is 20 pages long and one would need a PhD. The fact that people who have lived outside the country for one month or six months or 12 months have to obtain certification from authorities abroad that they do not have properties in those countries adds greatly to delays. These blockages could be waived. The Minister of State will be aware from her time on the council that every applicant for a council house has his or her application checked by a housing officer who physically calls to him or her. I cannot understand why a 20-page form is required. When the Leas-Chathaoirleach and I were members of Cork County Council, a one-page form did the job every bit as well and it was a much quicker process. There is a great deal of daft bureaucratic red tape which should be waived and written out of the script. If we want to make progress in filling vacant houses, we have to use a little cop-on and common sense. I ask the Minister of State to examine these minor issues. A housing applicant almost requires a PhD in form filling before he or she can even submit a form to the local authority, which is unnecessary.


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