Dermot Looney Housing Assistance Payments
Cllr Dermot Looney's motion calls on South Dublin County Council to build more social housing after it emerged that the council paid the highest amount in HAP last year

South Dublin County Council paid out more in Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) than any other local authority in the country last year.

A recent report showed that South Dublin County Council had paid out €22.1 million in HAPs in 2017.

Cllr Dermot Looney (SD) has brought forward a motion calling on the Chief Executive to liaise with the Government to to ensure a ramped-up building and purchase programme for social housing across the county.

Cllr Looney’s motion states: “This council notes that, even if there is no increase in the net HAP paid out over the next five years, the amount will be equivalent to the building of almost 600 council homes.

“This council notes that while HAP is an important emergency intervention to keep people in homes, it is not a long-term solution to the housing crisis in this county and amounts to the subsidisation of private landlords rather than the provision of social housing.”

Figures revealed at the county council meeting on Monday show that South Dublin County Council did not complete construction on a single home in 2017.

The housing waiting list stood at 8,172 applicants in December 2017, an increase of 277 in 2017.

Cllr Madeleine Johansson (PBP) also called for the council to build more social houses.

“The housing crisis is the most important issue facing South Dublin County Council right now and it is very disappointing to see that not a single unit was completed in 2017,” she said.

“This reflects the fact that the Government policy of ‘Rebuilding Ireland‘ is not working, and is continuing to rely on the private market which has failed to solve the crisis.

“While it is positive that construction has started on 1,148 units in 2017, this number is not near enough to begin solving the crisis that families and individuals are facing.

“People Before Profit and Solidarity councillors in South Dublin County are currently looking at options for large scale council housing, including affordable housing, and will make proposals for this in the coming months.”

Dublin Gazette contacted South Dublin County Council for comment on Cllr Looney’s motion but a spokesperson said that as the motion was not reached on the agenda at the council meeting, they would not comment until the debate happens.