Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy have turned the sod on a development on Cork’s Northside, which will see 153 new affordable and social homes developed.
The site at Boherboy, Lotamore, Mayfield will see 116 new energy-efficient affordable homes available to buy. They’ll be made up of 24 two-bedroom homes and 92 three-bedroom units, as well as a creche on site. The houses are expected to be ready by this time next year.
In addition, a portion of the site is being made available for 37 apartments which will be used for social housing.
Cork is leading the way in this type of project as it is the first affordable purchase housing scheme in the country, which is in conjunction with Cork City Council.
Speaking at the sod-turning event of the €40 million project on the 13-acre site, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “It’s a really good example here in Cork of how housing is really taking off after years of undersupply. If you just take Cork city, for example, in 2014 only one new home was built. There are now a thousand on-site across the Cork city area and that’s being replicated across the country.”
The affordable homes on site are expected to cost €198,000 for a two-bedroom, and €223,000 for a three-bedroom. Based on an application to the Rebuilding Ireland Homeloan with a joint income of €75,000 - people would pay back €785, or €865 per month on their mortgage.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney, whose wife grew up down the road from the new development, said: “I think that is affordable for people - not everybody - but most people.”
Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan said: “I am delighted to see this great initiative taken by the Council and that these affordable homes, designed by leading Architects, O ‘Mahony Pike and built by Lyonshall / Clancy Joint Venture, will shortly be available to eligible individuals and young families.”
Following the sod-turning, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste joined Cork North Central by-election candidate Senator Colm Burke to canvass in Blackpool Shopping centre. The Taoiseach was questioned on a number of issues, with homelessness and housing the top of many people’s lists.
Evan and Ellie Bridgeman from Gurranabraher were happy to meet the Taoiseach, and both spoke to him about homelessness.
Speaking to The Echo Ellie, a pupil at St Vincent’s school, and Evan, a pupil at Blarney Street school, said they asked Leo Varadkar “about the homeless, what are you going to do about the homeless?”
Responding to them the Taoiseach said: “The main thing we need to do is build lots of houses because for years and years we weren’t able to build any houses in the country, and now we need to build loads more, and that’s what we’re doing.
Speaking to another woman who questioned him on the issue, the Taoiseach said: “It’s often more complicated. People have other issues.” Meanwhile, Senator Colm Burke said: “There are huge challenges in relation to people on the streets, and it’s about trying to deal with those. We've got a huge issue in relation to making sure people get accommodation at night.”
The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Senator Colm Burke also stopped into a number of shops, including Blackpool Barbers and Neville’s jewelers, where they spoke to staff and posed for photos, while they also spoke to people and posed for photos with members of the public in the shopping centre before heading to Blarney to canvass there.