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Flynn critical of Minister Murphy’s ‘whistle-stop tour’

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Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy has come under fire from Cllr Gerry Flynn.

Clare County Council’s Chairperson of the Social Development SPC, Cllr Gerry Flynn stated that Minister Murphy’s visit to the county last month should have included a meeting with council officials trying to tackle “a housing crisis”.

Eoghan Murphy was the keynote speaker at Shannon Chamber’s summer lunch, it was an event Cllr Flynn was unable to attend due to a family wedding. “The one thing I’ll say to Eoghan Murphy is whistle stop tours which are carefully choreographed are ok when he comes to speak at those dinners with the Chamber and what have you but what I’m asking the Minister to do is to meet me as the Chair of the SPC that covers Housing and then maybe I would have something to say in how engagement goes”.

“This is the third minister in the last number of years that we’ve had in housing, we had Alan Kelly, Simon Coveney and now Eoghan Murphy. It seems to me that in theory they tell people we are attacking the problem but reality for me and on the practical side of things which I and my colleagues have to deal with, the reality is much different to the theoretical sound bytes you get from Ministers. My invitation has been issued for a long time to the Minister to come to Clare County Council and sit down with me and the officials that are struggling to deal with what is a housing crisis”.

Clare County Council have confirmed that they will meet the housing targets set out by the Minister. They will build 29 houses, acquire 35 and lease 100 in 2018, under new targets set out by the Housing Minister. According to Cllr Flynn, “That’s a phenomenal drive by Clare County Council in the current climate to deliver housing”.

Publishing various reports and aims is not the way to tackle the issue according to the Shannon councillor. “I suppose it sounds good when you put a report out there telling the wider public that as a government and a government minister that you are actually delivering and these huge numbers to address the housing shortage but we have to deal with the reality and I would prefer if the Minister was more real in how the actual crisis is tackled because we have a big issue.

He added, “The building process is slow and we’ve a number of projects on stream that will be started this year, Quilty, Clonlara, Feakle, Shannon, Ennis but by the time you start these projects and you have the key to the door you’re looking at approximately three years, that’s a huge amount of time when you think that if you started building a house in the morning you would expect that you would have the key to the door within six months”.

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