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AN ENNIS DEVELOPER has warned that the private housing market “is being destroyed”.

Larry Brennan of Woodhaven Developments has been vocal in cautioning over an “imbalance of housing” in recent years and he has reiterated his concerns.

In the past fortnight, he was part of a delegation to receive a presentation from the Department of Housing, “the bottom line is the Department will take any house where they can get it, they will do anything to get their numbers up, no matter what,” he remarked.

Speaking at a sitting of the Social Development SPC, Brennan said there is a major risk of the housing balance being “totally swayed” towards public over private housing.

“It is getting very difficult to remain in private development, no homes will be available for sons and daughters who think they can afford them, they will have no option but to go on the Council housing list,” the Ennis man cautioned. Payments of €75,000 to €100,000 are needed for those purchasing private homes, he said, “private housing is being destroyed”.

Chair of the Social Development SPC, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) responded, “it won’t be possible to get onto the list because the thresholds are so low, therein lies the problem for the squeezed middle”.

Shannon representative, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) was in agreement that the “squeezed middle” needed to be looked after. “They can’t afford to get onto the housing list and over earning to get on low threshold for housing list”. She outlined that some parents are trying to assess the feasibility of putting a temporary mobile home in their garden for a few years to assist their children, “we have generations of families living in houses”.

Senior executive officer in Clare County Council, Siobhán McNulty said she agreed “wholeheartedly” with the concerns of Brennan. “There is a huge dearth of private developments in Clare. It is going to cause more difficulty for the squeezed middle if we don’t have private developers building houses”. Queries relating to mobile homes on private property are a matter for the Economic Development SPC, she said.

“It is regrettable that Clare isn’t recognised as having an affordability constraint,” Director of Service, Anne Haugh acknowledged. She flagged that a shared equity scheme was to be launched in the coming weeks, “everyone will be eligible for that regardless of where you live”.

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