Labour Newbridge rep, Patricia Callinan
Radical innovative measures are required to tackle the housing crisis in Newbridge, which was described as “horrific” by one of the people attending the recent AGM of the local branch of the Labour party.
Guest speaker, Tom Healy, Director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute, said; “The absence of adequate housing is the biggest single social problem facing our country. There continues to be an unholy alliance between land ownership and property development that is thwarting supply.
“And the Grenfell Towers tragedy in London has highlighted concerns here in relation to housing quality and insufficient regulation of building standards".
He said between thirty and forty thousand new homes per annum are needed to meet demand.
“People should have the option of long term leasing of quality homes at affordable rents. The current system is failing and a new model of provision involving a state company taking the lead in a commercial enterprise, as happens with the ESB, is required", said Mr Healy, adding that further details of their proposals are available on the website www.nerinstitute.com
In the debate that ensued Cllr Mark Wall commented: “The continuing housing crisis in Newbridge, and indeed in South Kildare generally, is not stopping. Every opportunity must be looked at to secure family homes for the most vulnerable.
“We have seen an over-dependency on voluntary housing associations who, in my opinion, can only be part of the solution. I agree with speakers here tonight that it is time for a new national housing organisation financed through exchequer funding working closely with the local authorities. Without it I feel we are only chipping away at a crisis that needs much more direct intervention".
The meeting also heard reports of a busy year of activity including the 'Fair Rail Fares' campaign being led by Local Area Representative Patricia Callinan.
The branch meets monthly and new members are very welcome.
The officers elected on June 26 were: Ciara O'Reilly (Chairperson), Jack O'Connor (Vice-Chairperson), Willie Hamilton (Secretary), Brian Deasy (Treasurer) and Patricia Callinan (PRO and Local Area Representative).