Fianna Fáil TD for Meath West Shane Cassels says the recent social housing development plan announced for Farganstown, located just outside Navan, represents atrocious value for money for Meath County Council.

Deputy Cassells added that the manner in which the deal is structured, which involves the inclusion of the cost of the land which was purchased many years ago, means the cost of building each house is exorbitantly high. The structure of the deal means that €4m of the overall €11.2m allocation is going towards paying the bad debt associated with the boom time land purchase.

Deputy Cassells said, “This deal represents atrocious value for money as the cost of the land purchase by Meath County Council has been worked back into the €11.2m deal. This land was purchased at the height of the property market many years ago.

“The inclusion of this cost means that each individual home is costing €280,000. This is well above the €180,000 target cost that the Government itself has set for the delivery of social housing. Fianna Fáil also heard from DIT Housing Expert Lorcan Sirr last September who made it explicitly clear that it should not cost more than €180,000 to build a home under the social housing programme.

“Instead of 62 homes being built all we are getting is 40 because the cost of the land is being recouped from the money allocated from the Government. This is a ridiculous situation when you consider the Department has refunded the cost of the atrocious land purchase for other councils around the country. However here in Meath they are expecting the Local Authority to sucker up the exorbitant cost that was paid for the land.

“The Government could take the hit on the cost of this land, as it has done elsewhere, to allow the council to build more homes from this allocation. However they are not prepared to do this and instead they are giving with one hand but taking it back with the other.

“Meath is in the midst of a housing crisis. This allocation represented the opportunity to build 62 homes, but instead we will be lucky to see 40 delivered. 22 families in Navan will lose out as a result of this ridiculous Government decision. It’s a bad deal and Minister English and the Government know this,” concluded Deputy Cassells.