A quarter of the people on Donegal’s social housing list are in the Inishowen area, it has been confirmed.
Figures submitted to the ‘Journal’ by Donegal County Council show that there are 2505 applicants on the Social Housing waiting list county wide with 620 of these in the Inishowen area.
There are 155 vacant local authority properties in the county with just 12 of them in the Inishowen area, on which offers had been made in respect of two.
Of the remaining 143 vacant properties outside Inishowen, offers are currently made in respect of 13 of these, with 41 not being refurbished “due to the lack of demand in the area, property is for sale or the cost is considered excessive.”
A spokesperson for the council said the remainder of the properties are either in the process of being re-let or are being refurbished with a view to being re-let in the near future.
Inishowen Cathaoirleach Rena Donaghey said the figure for Inishowen was “disturbing” and the highest she had ever known.
She said they reflected how, in the past three years, no houses were to be “bought or built” by the Council in line with national policy.
She added that the demand for houses was also pushing up rents as the lack of social housing was increasing the demand for private renting.
She said that, in her opinion, “this is the time” houses should be bought by the Councils as prices will only increase in the future.
Colr. Donaghey said while a new housing programme was due to begin in Inishowen and is to be welcomed, it would “take some time” to clear the waiting list.
She said: “Nothing has been done for young couples or families needing housing for the past three or four years. We’re going to need a huge building programme to clear this number. In Buncrana at the minute, there’s one house for rent. Many people have been coming to me asking about houses as they are in such short supply, both in social housing and private letting. I do know there will be a programme starting in Buncrana, but it won’t even take one tenth of the number off the waiting list. These figures are very, very concerning.”