Friday 18 October 2019

Cllr Byrne makes 'no apologies' for ambitious housing plan for Wexford

Cllr Malcolm Byrne.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne.

By Amy Lewis

Cllr Malcolm Byrne said he 'makes no apologies for being ambitious', despite receiving mixed opinions on his motion calling for the construction or acquirement of 500 social houses in Wexford by the end of 2018.

'We have lacked very clear and specific targets and need a tenable goal,' he said. 'I suggest we set it as a goal and get updates in the monthly report outlining any blockages. If there are any internal blockages, we address them. If there are external issues, we highlight them.'

'It sends out a strong message that we are united in solving the problem.'

Cllr Byrne said that the construction of 500 houses is 'an attainable goal'.

Cllr Michael Sheehan seconded his motion, saying that it was 'an opportune time' to set such a target.

Cllr Anthony Donohoe raised concerns about how and where these houses would be constructed, while Cllr Keith Doyle also echoed his views.

'Anthony has a good point. If we have a policy to build 500 houses, it is easy for the department to just take anywhere to build a few hundred as they have a land bank there already and are ready to go,' he said, saying that they need to ensure that one area isn't prioritised over another.

However, Cllr Lisa McDonald was confident that this wouldn't happen, saying that the council works in tandem with each district.

'It's a target, It focuses the mind to have an attainable target,' she said. 'It shows the public that we have a target.'

When queried about the specific figure, Cllr Byrne said it was one to work towards.

'An issue we deal with more than enough is housing. If by the end of 2018, we can turn around and say that we did it, that would be great.'

'I make no apologies for being ambitious,' he added. 'If barriers come up, we can work together to address them.'

Cllr Byrne earlier expressed his annoyance that he had not been informed that his motion had been taken off the agenda.

'Where a motion was tabled, that person should be contacted (about any changes),' he said.

Cllr Oisin O'Connell said he agreed.

'Out of a point of courtesy a person should be informed in a timely fashion about changes,' he said.

Cllr Byrne remained stubborn, dismissing Chairperson Cllr Paddy Kavanagh when he said 'we need to move on' with the meeting.

'It was appropriately tabled and will be tabled for today,' he said.

Cllr Kavanagh admitted that Cllr Byrne had not been informed in time about the change.

Wexford People

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