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A crisis exists regarding the provision of permanent residencies in coastal parts of Clare, a county councillor has flagged while the amount of households in social housing need has increased.

Three families have left Kilkee in the last three weeks due to an inability to get a house to live in all-year round, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) stated at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council. “We have a crisis in housing along our coastal communities in permanent residential people,” he warned.

Kilkee losing seven children from those families would have an “immense knock-on effect on our community,” Murphy stated. Failure to address this will render rural development, regeneration and strategies null and void.

His comments followed a proposal by Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) which sought a short, medium and long-term projection of social and affordable need in Clare.

Clare’s reported social housing need in 2020 is a net need of 1209 households, Director of Services Anne Haugh stated in response. “This is an increase on the 1070 households reported in the 2019 Social Housing Assessment”.

She added, “The new County Development Plan will set the framework for the delivery of housing in the County over its lifetime. To that end the Council is in the process of drafting a Housing Strategy to support the County Development Plan, the strategy will provide for the delivery of both social and affordable housing in a planned way into the future taking account of projected population increases in the County.

Policy changes to support the delivery of social housing have been considered by the Social Directorate SPC and communicated to the Minister for Housing.

Vacant housing stock must be utilised to tackle the growing demand for social housing, Cllr McMahon affirmed.

Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) believed the motion was “very pertinent to the debate on rural development”. Infrastructure must exist to encourage persons to live where housing is affordable, he added. “For me it is about people living in rural places. We have towns and villages with infrastructure that are strategically located but we’re told we are in a very visually sensitive area,” the Lisdoonvarna representative added.

More guidance needs to be given to councillors on the planning process, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) felt. “The crisis in planning is not helped by the crisis in housing,” the Shannon man said.

 

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