Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, walking through the Cnoc na Scoile social housing development, Ashline, Ennis, with (L-R) Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, Clare County Council, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Tony O’Brien, and Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council. Photograph: Eamon Ward

FOUR NEW SOCIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS were formally opened by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien (FF) across Clare on Monday.

With a total approved budget of €40m, the developments in Miltown Malbay, Tulla and two in Ennis (Ashline and Lifford) will provide 153 new homes through a combination of direct build and turnkey development schemes, funded by the Department as part of the Government’s Housing for All plan.

A mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom dwellings featuring high-specification finishes with an emphasis on energy efficiency form part of the developments.

Clare County Council’s Director of Social Development, Anne Haugh outlined how the local authority was on course to exceed its target under Housing for All. For the period 2022 to 2026, the Council was set a target of delivering 833 units and for this year the local authority proposes exceeding its targets by up to 60 units.

She outlined that the housing need in the county was being tackled. “The planning and delivery of social housing in the county has been ramped up significantly over the past number of years and the official opening of 153 new homes today across four separate schemes brings to fruition the efforts of all involved at an unprecedented scale of delivery. Together with local authority schemes also recently completed in Feakle, Clonlara, Quilty, Ennis and Newmarket on Fergus, and taking account of an ambitious construction pipeline for the next four years, we can be reasonably confident that the current pace and scale of delivery will continue to deliver on our commitments to addressing current and future housing need in the county.”

Of the four developments, Cluain Gréine in Lifford is the largest. With an approved budget of €18,923,877, it provides 61 social housing units through the turnkey delivery stream. The development was constructed by Manozo Ltd for Focus Capital. In conjunction with the housing development, significant upgrade works were also completed on the adjacent Drehidnagower Road. Works here included approximately 150m of road reconstruction and realignment, the construction of a new roundabout along with associated drainage, signage and public lighting, all of which contribute to enhancing road safety in the area.

Phase 1 of the scheme (16 units) was completed in July 2022 and has now been occupied. Phase 2 (24 units) is complete and will be allocated once the completion of site works allow and is scheduled for this coming week. The final phase of 21 units will be complete in November, allowing the completed 61-unit scheme to be allocated before Christmas 2022.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Tony O’Brien, showing the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, around one of the new units at Baile na mBan social housing development, Ballard Road, Milltown Malbay, alongside Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, and Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council. Photograph: Eamon Ward

40 social housing units are provided at Cnoc na Scoile in Ashline, through a direct build scheme by Clare County Council. This development had an approved budget of €10,534,481. The project was completed in June of this year with M. Fitzgibbon Contractors Ltd the appointed contractor by the local authority.

An approved budget of €5,695,957 was set aside for the Baile na mBan development on Ballard Road, Milltown Malbay. It consists of 27 social housing units provided through a direct build scheme by Clare County Council. The project is due for completion in October 2022 with Coolsivna Construction Ltd the appointed contractor.

Through the Cúinne an Bhroic development at Doonaun, Tulla, 25 social housing units will be provided. The direct build scheme has an approved budget of €5,152,736 and was completed in June of this year. Pat Keogh Construction Ltd was the appointed contractor by the Council, the quality and adaptability of this development has already been acknowledged with the scheme shortlisted in the National Age Friendly Recognition and Achievement Awards which will take place later this month.

Minister O’Brien praised the Council for their progress in the delivery of housing across the county. Mayor of Clare, Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF) said collectively the developments “will be wonderful places to live and will enhance the local areas”.

Chief Executive of the Council, Pat Dowling stressed that they were “homes not houses”. He also hit out at recent media coverage on age friendly housing, “age friendly housing is housing for everybody”. He acknowledged the support of Minister O’Brien’s Department and emphasised they would be looking for continued backing. “We remain focused on meeting the housing need in our county,” he added.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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