Blaney calls for retention of NI Housing Executive

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BALLYCASTLE Independent councillor Seamus Blaney has succeeded in getting Moyle Council to write to all the other local councils in Northern Ireland to lobby for the retention of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Housing Council.

Cllr Blaney fears the impact if housing is controlled solely by housing associations and he fears that people could see hikes in rent of up to £30 a week.

And he was concerned that the fairness in the allocation of housing under the Housing Executive may be compromised.

Cllr Blaney said it is a “very important” issue and Independent councillor Padraig McShane agreed.

Cllr Blaney said he hoped “all socialist councillors” would support his motion.

Speaking after Moyle Council agreed to lobby its support for the NIHE and the Housing Council and its opposition to the split in the NIHE into a Regional Strategic Body and a separate landlord function outside of the public sector, Cllr Donal Cunningham (SDLP) issued the following statement.

He has called on Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland to take urgent action to address the number of people on the Housing Waiting list in Ballycastle.

Cllr Cunningham said: “The number of people on the waiting list in Ballycastle currently stands at 325. That’s alongside the backdrop of a 20% increase in the waiting list across the North in the last year.

“And despite this critical level of housing stress, the Minister has handed back £17million which had been earmarked for housing spend. This is money which could have been used to alleviate the intense anxiety that many families find themselves in.

“Minister McCausland is clearly totally out of touch with the stresses and worries of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“Those families who find themselves almost perpetually on the waiting list, desperately waiting for good news, will be disappointed and angered to learn of the latest in a litany of failures by the Minister to address their plight.

“The SDLP will continue to fight their corner,” said the statement.