Cork Sinn Féin's Five Demands
For Affordable and Quality Housing
1. Halve the
Housing List Within 3 Years
At present there are 6,000 people on the housing list in Cork City and
approximately another 1,000 joining it every year. Sinn Féin proposes
to halve the number of people on the housing list within 3 years by
providing 6,000 social and affordable housing units. This is 3,000 more
than currently planned.
At least half these would be 2 bedroom units. This is to reflect the
decreasing household size within the city and accomodate the many
people on the housing list whose needs are not met by the council's
existing stock of 3- and 4-bedroom houses.
Transparent Points System for Housing
At present, people on the housing list don't know whether they are at
the top, the middle or the bottom. They don't know how long they must
wait or how decisions are reached. And there is nowhere they can go to
have these questions answered.
What is clear is that there are huge difference in the amount of time
people spend on the housing list - from 6 weeks to 10 years. Also clear
is the potential for corruption and cronyism in a system where
decisions are reached behind closed doors.
Sinn Féin is calling for the introduction of a transparent points
system for social housing. Applicants would be awarded points on the
basis of criteria such as financial status, number of dependents,
current accomodation, and medical condition. They would be informed of
the number of points awarded them and the reason for the award. They
would be able to view their exact place on the housing list and
estimate the length of time they will be waiting. And there would be a
transparent appeals process for people who feel they should be placed
higher on the list.
of Property Management Companies
More than 500,000 people in Ireland live in apartments. However, there
is still no proper regulatory framework for the Property Management
Companies responsible for the upkeep and servicing of apartment
complexes. Young couples have found themselves paying annual fees of up
to $2,500 for a bad service. There is little transparency about the
level of fees or how they are spent.
Sinn Féin is calling for regulation of the property management
industry, with adequate protection for consumers regarding the level of
service charges and how they are spent. Legislation must ensure the
transfer of control over Property Management Companies from developers
to apartment owners takes place promptly and that consumers are fully
informed of their rights.
Planning to Match Population Growth with Facilities
In the past, bad planning has seen houses and apartments built without
the facilities a community needs being provided. The result is
increased car-dependence, anti-social behaviour, and a reduced quality
of life. In future, planning must match population growth with the
development of public transport, childcare, retail outlets and spaces
for recreation. Sinn Féin wants an asessment of these needs
incorporated into the planning process. We also propose that the
council carry out an audit of the social and recreational needs of
existing communities in the city and incorporate an investment
programme to meet them into the new City Development Plan.
5. Extend the
City Boundaries and Make More Land Available for Housing
Cork City has outgrown its boundaries. This results in a shortage of
land and a higher cost of housing in the city. It means communities in
Togher, Wilton, Grange and other areas which are an organic part of
Cork City come under the jurisdiction of the County Council.
Cork County Councillors have resisted all aproaches from the City
Council to have the boundaries extended. However, the Minister for the
Environment has the power to extend the city boundaries, with or
without the consent of the County Council.
Sinn Féin demands that power be exercised. Expanding the city
boundaries will mean there is more land for housing. It will make the
target of providing 6,000 social and affordable housing units within 3
years achievable. And it will ensure better services and better
representation for communities that straddle the current city boundary.