Donegal Senator Brian O’Domhnaill has called on the Government to take control of unfinished housing estates around the country which have been abandoned by developers.
 
Speaking during a Seanad debate on unfinished housing estates this week, Senator Ó Domhnaill said abandoned housing units which are on the verge of completion should be taken over by the State and used as social and affordable housing.
 
The Donegal Senator said:  “The National Housing Development Survey (published in October 2010) identified that there are over 2,846 housing developments where construction had commenced but had not been completed. This translates into approximately 179,273 housing units for which planning permission has been granted.
 
“Over 100,000 units are either vacant, nearly complete, at various stages of construction or passed through the planning process but construction has not taken place.
 
“There are families around the country who invested in a new home on the understanding that all site works would be complete. A home is one of the biggest investments in anyone’s life. To have paid for a property that is incomplete or inaccessible is heart-breaking for many.
 
“Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option. Developers, banks, local authorities and the Government must continue to build on the moves that have been made to tackle this nationwide problem.
 
“A fund of €5 million was made available by the previous Government to address immediate safety issues on such estates.  To date, approximately €1.3 million has been allocated to 15 local authorities.  
 
“The types of works that have been approved to date include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites.  While I welcome the establishment of a National Co-Ordination Committee, chaired by the Minister for Housing Willie Penrose, and involves key stakeholders.  
 
“I understand that 28 of the 2,846 housing development have been transferred to NAMA and as such I believe the State should lease or purchase these developments with the aim of providing these units for social and affordable housing, to help reduce the number of individuals/families on waiting lists.”