Headquarters of Mayo County Council.

Four applications for council home loans in Mayo this year

A LOAN of €1.84 million for council house purchase and home improvement loans has been approved by Mayo councillors.

However, they are unhappy that the sum will only provide for a small number of people who wish to buy homes.

The council, it was clarified, can apply for supplementary funding if needed, however in the last few years the allocation has not been used in full.

Councillor Michael Kilcoyne said the rejection rate is turning people off from applying.

The amount approved was only enough for seven or eight mortgages. Yet there were 780 people on a list seeking afforadable housing who could not get a mortgage.

These people, he said, were being condemned to a 'pit of poverty' for themselves and their children for the future.

Councillor Christy Hyland said the local authority home loan only applied to turnkey homes - new properties.

They were talking about revitalising town centres, yet you can't get a council mortgage for such a property.

Councillor Brendan Mulroy wanted to know how many applications were received in the last 12 months and the top three grounds for refusal.

Councillor Gerry Murray said he understands that application now have to go to Dublin for approval, which incurs all kinds of difficulties. Mayo County Council may say you meet the criteria but when it goes to Dublin they say you don't.

Director of services Tom Gilligan said the home loans are a national scheme. The council can only consider applicants who have received two refusals from financial institutions.

Reasons for refusal include insufficient savings, payment history and capacity with other loans.

The council want to support people to apply. Last year 17 loans were approved, 10 were unsuccessful and nine were sent out for further information.

There have been very few applications this year so far, with one granted up to the end of April, one refused, and two where more information was requested.

Councillor Kilcoyne commented that there were probably so few applications as people have lost faith in the scheme.

Councillor Mulroy agreed there is a 'big problem somewhere', that only 36 people would come to the council for a loan.

We're gone past the stage where people are going looking for loans as they are barely keeping the wolves from the door.