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‘Ghettos could emerge’ in Clare without balance

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CONCERN has been expressed that “ghettos” could emerge in Clare due to a lack of proper social mix with housing.

Cllr PJ Kelly is the longest serving member of Clare County Council and at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Social Development SPC, he warned of the potential risks that may arise if the local authority does not find a balance in the provision of new council houses and private homes.

His comments came following the announcement that 180 housing units are expected to be built by July 2021 in Clare.

Cllr Kelly said he was “concerned at the balance of social housing and private housing in certain developments… we should look at the implications down the road.

Is there a danger we may create ghettos by not having a balanced formula?”

The Fianna Fáil councillor referenced neighbouring counties whom Clare “can certainly learn lessons from”. He asked, “Should we be more careful in the future and make sure we don’t, I don’t like to use the word ghetto, but we create an atmosphere where people say ‘my children will have houses after me and my grandchildren and so on”.

Kelly referred to his own days growing up saying there was no demand for social housing and put pressure on the local authority to assess the consequences of additional Council homes in an area where they already exist.

He concluded by outlining his fear that the Council does “not seem to be in control of the situation”.

Dermot Hayes took umbrage with comments from Cllr Kelly.

“Cllr Kelly can say that everybody in society should have a private house, the reality is totally different,” the committee member stated.

Responding to Cllr Kelly, Anne Haugh Director of Services with the Council agreed that there is a “concern in years to come if we over concentrate social housing in a particular estate”.

Ms Haugh concluded, “Social mix has to be regarded. It’s a fine line to thread when you’re under pressure”.

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