Bray Sinn Féin representatives Cllr John Brady, Cllr Rossa Murray and Oliver O'Brien have labelled the boarding up of council houses, especially during a housing crisis as disgraceful. They have also called for a management plan to be put in place to ensure vacant council houses and housing land banks don't become dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour.
Speaking after visiting vacant council properties on the O'Byrne Road Cllr Brady said "There is a serious housing crisis right across the state and Wicklow and Bray are no different. In Bray alone there are 827 families on the housing waiting list. It is absolutely disgraceful that at this point in the crisis council houses are still being boarded up and red tape is causing huge delays in them getting reallocated.In Bray alone there are nearly 20 boarded up houses, some of which have been boarded up since last year."
Cllr Murray went onto say "The current government policy of not building social housing is a flawed one which only serves to put money in the pockets of private landlords. When a council house does become available any work needed should be fast tracked to ensure it is reallocated as quickly as possible. Unfortunately too many houses are being left boarded up around Bray for far too long."
Bray Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien continued "Keeping houses boarded up not only deprives another needy family of a home, but they also become magnets for anti-social behaviour and for dumping, this unfortunately drags the whole area down too. I have spoken to many people who have stated that they would willingly take a council house in any condition and carry out whatever work was needed themselves just to get a roof over their heads. Such is the seriousness of the situation these people should be listened to and these boarded up houses should be allocated immediately."
Cllr Brady concluded "The council has many land banks suitable for housing along with boarded up houses, these are all creating problems in communities across Bray. A plan needs to be put in place to ensure the houses are given to needy people as quickly as possible and that the land banks are not dumping grounds and magnets for anti-social behaviour. Only this week after repeated requests from myself and residents of Wolfe Tone, O'Byrne Rd and Sugarloaf Crescent the council has moved on site of a boarded up house on O'Byrne road and started to clear it out. Whilst government policy and red tape is creating a lot of the problems, the council should and cold be more proactive in ensuring houses are reallocated as quick as possible and that they are kept clean."