Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Housing Accommodation.


asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that, over several decades, the position has been that when young married couples become eligible for housing and are resident in the South Dublin area, they are invariably housed in the North Dublin area and vice versa, where they have no friends and no sense of community; if he will make regulations or initiate legislation whereby people from a community will be rehoused, in so far as possible, within the community to which they belong: and if he considers that such legislation or regulations would lead to the quicker settlement of each new housing estate with its own identity, not only in Dublin, but throughout all urban areas in the country.

I am not so aware. Responsibility for the provision and allocation of alternative housing accommodation for persons in need of rehousing rests with the housing authority concerned. I am informed by Dublin Corporation that young married couples from the North Dublin area are not invariably rehoused in the South Dublin area, nor vice versa, nor has it been the practice, invariably in the past, to do so.

The priorities accorded to categories of persons in the letting of dwellings provided by housing authorities are determined by schemes adopted by these authorities under section 60 of the Housing Act, 1966. The letting priorities scheme adopted by Dublin Corporation already provides that in the allocation of dwellings preference shall be given to local applicants, other things being equal, subject to the priorities set out in the scheme. Other urban authorities have similar provisions in their letting schemes. In the circumstances, I see no need for the additional legislative requirement suggested by the Deputy. He will appreciate, of course, that vacant dwellings are not always available in a particular area to cater for the needs of all applicants in the area, at any given time. This arises from the normal exigencies of planning and executing a housing programme, which would not be obviated by legislation.

Does the Minister accept that there is a local problem in the method of priorities drawn up by the various local authorities whereby the further out and the newer housing estates are invariably given to the small families? Does the Minister not think that this priority classification is creating a social problem worse than that being solved by housing?

It is a matter for the local authorities how under section 60 of the Housing Act, 1966, they decide the system of priorities. I have no right to tell them what to do about this and, perhaps, the Deputy will take it up at corporation level.

I would ask the Minister if he, as Minister for Local Government, would make a regulation which would take this social consideration into account and not merely give people a number and tell them they are at a certain point on the list and will be sent to whatever area the house may be, regardless of whatever community or social work they may be engaged in.

I do not think such consideration would help the situation. The elected representatives of the area are the best judges in these matters. The subject should be raised by the elected representatives with the local authority when the houses are to be allocated and this would solve the problem.

As the Minister is aware, I represent the area which is now being reclassified, Dublin-Bally-fermot. The greatest problem there is the young married couples living with their parents who, because they are employed locally, cannot take the housing accommodation offered to them in Ballymun.

This is a matter for Dublin Corporation and the elected representatives to that body.

I am sure the Minister is aware that there is a new priority system being set up by Dublin Corporation which will take this into account.

Dublin Corporation should have told all their councillors about this.

They have done so.