Developers responsible should never again be given planning permission
Fine Gael Seanad Community Spokesperson, Senator Jerry Buttimer, welcomed the National Housing Development Survey Report in the Seanad this week saying it marks the first step on the long road of dealing with ghost estates and associated planning decisions which have blighted the Irish landscape.
“We need to take a long hard look at Fianna Fáil’s planning legacy and look for constructive and creative ways of cleaning up this tragic mess.
“We must send a strong signal, not to developers or individuals who bought second and third homes, but to those young couples, married and single people who invested in what they considered to be their Celtic tiger dream home, who now find that the have no access to transport or amenities and are living in rat infestated estates where roads, lighting and sewerage systems are unfinished.
“First things first, we must set about ensuring that those developers who are responsible for unfinished estate should never again be given planning permission and are never again allowed to re-register their old company. It’s time to get tough.
“The Government must be creative in finding solutions to this problem. Perhaps it is time we considered giving some kind of incentive to recently qualified FÁS apprentices or those who are unemployed to complete unfinished houses. Let us create a co-operative effort along the lines of the Niall Mellon fellowship trust where we can be creative in getting estates completed and give apprentices the opportunity to finish their apprenticeships or tradespeople the chance to get back to work.
“We also examine links to social welfare and look at taking people off the live register and giving them an opportunity to work on so-called ghost estates. We need a site-specific plan for each estate and with 21 ghost estates in Cork City alone and 284 throughout the county, the task ahead is no small one.
“Statistics on homelessness have gone through the roof in recent times, as have the numbers seeking social housing. Surely it is time to look at the ways in which we can allow people to live in the hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments that are currently living derelict. The situation is a national disgrace. It cannot be allowed to continue.”