Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Repair of Westmeath Cottages.

Wednesday, 5 October 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 29 Next Page Last Page

12.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange asked the Minister for Local Government (a) why the Westmeath County Council cannot get a loan to repair cottages; (b) the number of applications made by the county council for loans for such purpose; (c) to whom applications were made; and (d) the result in each case.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney On the general question of loans for cottage repairs, I would refer the Deputy to what I said in my Estimates Speech (Volume 224, Columns 58 and 59). As regards County Westmeath, I sanctioned a treasurer loans of £20,000 in September, 1965 but I understand that the loan was refused by their bank subsequently. The council then applied for a loan from the Local Loans Fund but this was refused because it has not been the practice to make loans available from the Fund for cottage repairs. I have no details regarding any further applications which may have been made by the council for cottage repair-loans. There is no such application before my Department at present.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Is the Minister aware that Westmeath County Council [621] made altogether four applications, two to the local bank, one to the Mutual Insurance Company and one to another insurance company, and they were all turned down? Does the Minister believe it is good policy to let cottages deteriorate? Does he not believe a stitch in time saves nine? Is it Government policy to let cottages deteriorate? That is what is happening in our county.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney There would not be nine stiches necessary if the local authority had been doing their job over the years——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Further arising——

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney Will the Deputy let me finish? Time without number over the years I have advocated that our housing stock should be maintained because, if it is not maintained as maintenance requirements fall due, the cost will become exorbitant and we will lose much of the valuable housing we already have. Repairs and maintenance are not something which we should backlog or cut out, as local authorities are wont to do in order to save two or threepence in the £ in the estimates. The figures are cut and we now find ourselves becoming worried because our housing stock has deteriorated and is deteriorating and the amount required to carry out repairs is no longer normal repair or maintenance but is a backlog representing quite a considerable figure. The point I have made is that it is not the practice to provide money from the Local Loans Fund since these are moneys which should be raised annually. The job should be done annually. It should not be an accumulation of repairs going back over 20 years.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Is the Minister aware that Westmeath has spent from £20,000 to £30,000 each year for the past 20 years on the repair of cottages? Is he further aware that we could not get the money in the past two or three years because the Government went bust?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney Approval to the raising of a loan by Westmeath County Council was given in September, 1965. [622] I know other councils who could, a year later, get loans for the same purpose from their own treasurer and from their own banks. The reflection is on the Westmeath local authority.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Can the Minister tell me any county council which has got a loan for the repair of cottages?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney I can.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Will he give it to me? Cork was refused six months ago. The reflection is on the Minister and his Department, and blooming well he knows that.


Last Updated: 12/05/2015 15:37:43 First Page Previous Page Page of 29 Next Page Last Page