Deputy Alan Dillon

Mayo needs more affordable housing - Dillon

A Mayo TD has raised the issue of a lack of affordable housing across Mayo.

Deputy Alan Dillon said the county council is in a perplexing predicament where no targets have been set for affordable housing schemes in Mayo.

“Recently, the local authority undertook an external affordability exercise for Westport, which resulted in the department’s approval of 13 affordable housing units in the area.

“During this exercise, it became apparent a staggering 775 households expressed sincere interest in acquiring an affordable house through the council. In light of these findings, I’m baffled as to why the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has not yet established targets for affordable housing in Mayo.

“I welcome news that Mayo County Council is, thankfully, now actively pursuing a separate application for affordable housing in Castlebar,” Deputy Dillon told Minister Kieran O’Donnell.

Deputy Dillon said he had called for the establishment of this scheme many times and called on the department to set a realistic target of 100 affordable housing units in Mayo for 2023 to 2024.

“This target aligns to the urgency and gravity of the situation, offering a tangible solution to the housing crisis our county is grappling with,” he commented.

Minister O’Donnell said all local authorities, including Mayo, were encouraged to put applications to the department and they are very receptive to that.

“The original assessment was based on whether a second-hand house for sale within a local authority area was at a level deemed to be affordable. In the case of some of the local authorities, that is what arose. But at the moment, we are looking at designing specific targets for local authorities.”

Minister O’Donnell said local authorities want to build affordable houses and the department wants them to go into the cost-rental market also. “We want them to put applications into the Department. Setting targets is something we are look at as well, but we have a proactive model in place,” she said.

Deputy Dillon said he will continue to pursue the matter of affordable housing units in Mayo to ensure they are development not just in Westport and Castlebar but in other areas of the county where demand is greater than supply of such homes.