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Wicklow Cllr. voices concerns over fairness of affordable housing scheme application process

Independent Wicklow councilor Joe Behan has voiced his concern over the fairness of the application process for a new affordable housing scheme in county Wicklow. 

From today, hopeful house hunters can submit applications for a chance at being selected for the allocation of one of 36 homes in Murrough View on Greenhill Road in Wicklow town.

Of the 36 units, 12  two-bedroomed houses and 24 three-bedroomed houses, 10 or 11 are to be reserved for applicants from Wicklow itself, according to the councillor. 

Wicklow County Council, who under the scheme will take a ​​”percentage equity stake” in the properties, says it hopes the houses will be completed by March of this year. 

Behan said that although he welcomes the affordable housing scheme in Wicklow he feels “disappointed at its basic unfairness to prospective applicants from our own county of Wicklow. 

“This is because the scheme is wide open to applicants from every country in the country, not just County Wicklow.” he said 

Adding, “Although 10 or 11 houses will be reserved for applicants from anywhere in County Wicklow, the majority of the houses will also be available to people from Kerry, Galway, Dublin, Tipperary and beyond.”

Behan continued that those hoping to secure one of the homes were given only one week to get all the necessary documentation in order and submit it via an online portal which he said gave an unfair advantage to those in areas with stronger broadband. 

He said he “proposed that the scheme of priorities be changed to ensure a greater level of success for County Wicklow applicants when the scheme was adopted at a meeting of Wicklow County Council but I was told that the Government has insisted that the scheme must be open to the whole country.” 

He continued, “I strongly believe that this scheme should be changed to allow more people from County Wicklow to benefit but I am concerned that the Government will hold the line for this or for any future affordable housing scheme provided by Wicklow County Council.”

Adding, “I have to ask what the two Cabinet Minsters from County Wicklow were thinking of when they allowed this scheme to go through Government.”

“It seems to me to be an appalling failure to protect the interests of their constituents on an issue of huge importance to the whole county.” he said. 

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