Cllr Joe Reilly.
Cllr Joe Reilly.
The number of people seeking housing from Meath County Council is rocketing - with up to 25 families or individuals coming onto the county's housing list every week.
The number of applicants seeking local authority housing now totals 4,111, according to latest figures from the council.
Just 70 houses have been allocated to families this year and councillors have warned that it could take years at the present rate to clear the backlog of housing applicants.
Although there were 4,111 applications with the council at the end of May last, council members believe this figure could be halved if it were not for the requirement of rent supplement applicants to be on the housing list. Even at 2,000 applicants, councillors strongly doubt the authority's capacity to catch up.
The large towns of Navan, Kells and Trim accounted for a total of 592 of the housing applications with the remainder scattered throughout rural areas throughout the county. Seventy-three per cent of applicants were Irish, with 19 per cent EU citizens and eight per cent from outside the EU.
Just 70 families were housed by the council so far this year - Navan (7), Kells (6), Trim (6), Slane (4), Dunshaughlin (1), according to figures released at a special housing meeting of the county council on Monday.
More than half (57 per cent) of those on the housing application list claimed an inability to meet the cost of housing themselves in the private market.
Sinn Fein Cllr Joe Reilly said: "The figures of 4,111 people on the housing list in County Meath is an outrageous and damming figure that highlights the failure of government's social housing policy. This is an historic high number on the housing list and is part of over 100,000 housing applicants Statewide."
He said government policy of recent years had been to hive off the construction of social housing to the private sector. "This has proven to be a absolute failure, resulting in thousands of people on housing lists for years and with little or no chance of being housed on a permanent basis for future years to come," he added.
To read the full story see this week's Meath Chronicle.
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