EU funds sought for multi-million euro regeneration programme

Discussions under way to procure funding for retro-fit of thousands of flats in Dublin, Cork and Limerick

Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan:  “This is a very ambitious package”

Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan: “This is a very ambitious package”

 


The Government is seeking an estimated €100 million from the European Union structural funds to pay for the refurbishment of thousands of local authority homes in the State’s main cities.

Not-for-profit housing associations would have a more central role in the maintenance and management of social housing under the proposal, which would mean the retrofitting of homes in Dublin, Limerick and Cork.

The Government is seeking to utilise EU structural funds to meet the cost of the project which is under discussion with interested parties, Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan said at a seminar in Dublin yesterday.

Some 2,000 flats would be retrofitted under the plan at an average cost of more than €50,000 per unit.


Ambitious package
“This is a very ambitious package which, if successful, may see the not-for-profit sector take responsibility for a number of large multimillion retrofitting contracts and when completed, managing and maintaining these properties into the future,” she said.

While the Minister did not reveal how much the project would cost, one source estimated it to be in the region of €100 million. It is understood that the vast majority of the flats are in Dublin, several hundred are in Cork and a couple of hundred are in Limerick.

The funds are being sought under the Jessica initiative, a programme developed by the European Commission, European Investment Bank and Council of Europe Development Bank to support sustainable development and regeneration in urban areas.


Poorer areas
Ms O’Sullivan was speaking at a seminar organised by the Clúid Housing Association to mark the publication of a report, Starting Afresh: Housing Associations, Stock Transfer and Regeneration, on the regeneration of poorer areas through the participation of the non-profit housing sector.

Many estates identified to be in need of regeneration have been affected by the collapse of the public private partnership programme and the report recommends a public-not-for-profit-partnership approach between housing associations and local authorities to tackle substandard and derelict estates across Ireland.

Clúid chief executive Brian O’Gorman said regeneration of urban areas is “a key issue” involving wider society.

Ms O’Sullivan saidthat Nama would also accelerate the transfer of vacant properties for use as social housing this year