Buttimer demands explanation on unused housing funding

Thursday, 19th November 2015

  • Cork City Council has not used all of the housing funding allocated to it by Government 

I have been in contact with the Minister’s office in recent weeks regarding the allocation of funding to both Cork City Council and Cork County Council. Between 2011 and 2014, this Government allocated €30 million to the City Council but, regrettably, not all those moneys were used.

The figures in this regard are indisputable:

  • €1 million for housing adaptation grants for older people and persons with a disability was not used
  • €2 million for housing construction and acquisitions was left unused
  • €3 million for energy efficiency measures was not drawn down

There is a huge contrast between the two Cork local authorities in this regard. Over the same four-year period, the County Council drew down €6 million more than it was allocated. An additional €2.3 million was given for housing adaptations and an extra €500,000 for the purpose of putting vacant units back in use.

I have contacted the CEOs of both councils about their use of these moneys. It is important that the City CEO, in particular, should answer those questions on behalf of the tens of thousands of people who are waiting to be housed and deserve better when it comes to efforts to tackle housing shortages.

In addition, the latest figures for 2015 provided to me by the Department give cause for concern, with significant sums still remaining to be drawn down. Maybe it will be done in the next few weeks. But we need to get an explanation as to what happened in the four-year period.

The people on the housing list in Cork deserve better than to see moneys available being returned to central government. They deserve better than seeing the money not being used.




Cork City Council 2011-2014 2015
  Allocation Not Drawndown Allocation Not


Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People with a disability 6,634,531 1,063,725 1,552,805 1,183,129
Adaptations & Extensions to Social Housing 780,746   538,493 538,493
Upgrading, refurbishment and reinstatement of vacant housing units 1,288,376   3,657,649 3,657,649
Housing construction and acquisitions 12,262,319 2,131,296    
Capital advance leasing 0      
Remedial Works Scheme 741,634 426,092 50,000 50,000
Energy efficiency measures (2008-2013 includes voids) 8,468,077 3,006,555 1,615,632 368,565
Totals 30,175,683 6,627,668 7,414,579 5,797,836


Cork County Council 2011-2014 2015
Allocation Not Drawndown Allocation Not Drawndown
Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People with a disability 17,741,089 0 3,925,585 2,415,761
Adaptations & Extensions to Social Housing 858,114 0 554,019 554,019
Upgrading, refurbishment and reinstatement of vacant housing units 962,910 0 1,406,879 1,086,451
Housing construction and acquisitions 15,540,852 0
Capital advance leasing 0 0
Remedial Works Scheme 1,778,044 0
Energy efficiency measures (2008-2013 includes voids) 4,240,860 0 1,867,674 1,682,309
Totals 41,121,869 0 7,754,157 5,738,540

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Environment, National Work, Public Expenditure & Reform

Buttimer not convinced by amalgamation of Cork Councils

Monday 21st September 2015

  • Cork Local Government Committee recommends amalgamation of Cork City and County Councils.

Cork City Coat of ArmsSince the publication of the Report of the Cork Local Government Committee I have read and considered its proposals. Regrettably there is little evidence to suggest that recommendations to amalgamate Cork City and County Councils will deliver for the people of Cork. Reform of local government should deliver an outcome that will provide a platform for Cork to become a truly eminent European destination for business and tourism.

Yes, we need to change local government in Cork but I remain to be convinced by these proposals. People and communities must be at the centre of evidence based change. The report contains a number of contradictions and lacks substantive evidence to support its recommendations.

Far from delivering one council the report seems to be creating additional administrative layers and moving decisions further away from people and communities. What is proposed is three ‘divisions’ which closely resemble councils as they are currently structured, it is as if the report envisages three individual councils, not one. Each of these will be subsidiary to the overarching ‘unitary authority’ that won’t be directly elected.

The report recognises the importance of second cities, but then it fails to provide a structure for a second city. Instead it relegates Cork to a municipal district. It cites difficulties in moving staff between councils as a reason for amalgamation. Yet it fails to address the hurdles in merging two large organisations. It recognises the importance of local government in supporting communities yet it proposes to move local government in Cork further away from communities.

We should be confident of successful outcomes before proceeding with reforms. While the report puts forward an outline plan it lacks detail and specifics. Given these shortcomings and that the Committee making the recommendation split as close to 50/50 as is possible, the only definitive outcome is that a lot more work is needed before any change is implemented.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Environment, National Work

New wastewater plant in Shanbally to benefit communities in Cork’s Lower Harbour – Buttimer

Tuesday, 8th September 2015

  • New wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally in Co. Cork
  • Part of €91m investment in Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project
  • 50 jobs being created during the construction phase

150908 Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Programme - John Paul O Shea Sean Sherlock Alan Kelly Jerry ButtimerThe sod has been turned on a new wastewater treatment plant at Shanbally that will benefit communities around the Lower Harbour. It is great news for people living in the area and for all who enjoy the wonderful natural resource that is Cork Harbour. As a result of this investment there will be both health and environmental benefits.

For years areas such as Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Passage West/Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy have developed without proper infrastructure for the families living in the region. It is shocking to think that in this day and age we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with wastewater.

Delivering a wastewater treatment and major initiative like Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project are exactly why we need a water utility that can manage and develop water services. Old models failed to deliver for communities and only functioned because the problems were pumped out to sea. This investment will make sure that new pipes, pumping stations and a treatment plant can meet the needs of the population of the lower harbour and protect the environment, as well as facilitating economic development.

This is part of the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project and includes an overall investment of €91 million. The project will create approximately 50 jobs during the construction phase. When completed it will put an end to the unacceptable discharge of untreated sewage into the harbour.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Development, Environment

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