22 April 2024

~2 minutes read

Feisty housing debate dominates Galway County Council meeting as election day looms

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Feisty housing debate dominates Galway County Council meeting as election day looms

‘The Government has failed’ and there’s ‘no future here for the youth’.

Those were some of the big statements uttered from Galway County councillors’ mouths at this afternoon’s meeting as local election voting day – June 7th – looms.

Parties clashed, and much of the discussion spiralled from a comment made about the value of one-off rural housing.

The feisty debate on housing began after Connemara Independent Councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin gave a passionate 2 minute speech of slating the state of housing in Galway.

The next few minutes were taken up with councillors from all parties and areas of Galway pitching in for their turn at the topic, with bureaucracy, the planning system, the Government and Europe all being blamed for the housing crisis.

Loughrea area Fine Gael councillor, Jimmy McClearn, says it seems that despite Galway County Council approving planning applications, many of these are then being turned down by An Bord Pleanála.

This statement was backed up by fellow party Councillor Andrew Reddington, who says it’s too easy for people to object to plans, and that the €20 cost for an objection should be much higher.

However, the heated debate really kicked off when Green Party councillor Alistair McKinstrey was met with a barrage of backlash when he suggested one-off rural housing is not the answer.

One of those to strongly oppose this statement was Councillor Reddington, who said saying rural housing is of the utmost importance.

Declan Kelly, an Independent Ireland councillor, also took aim at Councillor McKinstrey and his party, saying it’s time for change in Government that does not include the Green party.

Councillor McKinstrey came back in again to say he was supportive of people living near where they grew up, but this response likely did little to calm his fellow elected representatives.

While Fine Gael councillor and Cathaoirleach, Liam Carroll, took a bit of slack for uttering words of support for Fianna Fáil Councillor Albert Dolan’s two cents on housing.

Plenty of other comments and statements were muttered and shouted – but with little effect as it was next to impossible to make out most of what was said.

All in all, it was palpable within the chamber that the countdown to elections is on the minds of councillors, with the topical issue of housing taking up at least an hour of today’s meeting.

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