29 Sept 2022

Anger as almost 100 refugees placed in social housing development

A development in Milford was intended for 17 social houses, but in a change of plan the developer has since homed almost 100 Ukrainian refugees

Anger as almost 100 refugees placed in social housing development

Almost 100 refugees were homed in a Milford housing development that was intended for social housing, it has emerged.

There has been widespread anger and frustration over the issue around 17 social houses at Lough Fern in Milford, a turnkey development.

Donegal County County Council says that is staff engaged with the developer with a view to delivering 17 social houses.

The Council says it provided ‘advice, support and guidance to ensure that the development would comply with the required standards and cost requirements for social housing when completed’.

A report from the Council said that it ‘fully anticipated’ that the houses would be delivered for social housing.

Latest figures seen by Donegal Live showed that there were 94 Ukrainian refugees residing at Lough Fern, including four children up to four years of age.

The matter was raised by Councillor Liam Blaney at the September meeting of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District. In a reply, the Council said that ‘the developer has made alternative arrangements ad the houses have been occupied.

It is understood that some of those families have moved on to alternative accommodation.

“We are crying out for social housing and you can understand why people were frustrated,” Councillor Blaney said.

“The last social housing development in the Milford Electoral Area was in 2010. A lot of people were looking forward to these houses being completed in the area.

“There was anger and resentment against the people who came in, but they weren’t aware either. We have to know what went on here and ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen with other turnkey developments in the county.”

Donegal County Council said that it is ‘disappointed’ at the arrangement.

In a reply to Councillor Blaney, the local authority said: “Donegal County Council is currently seeking to establish the facts around the change to the original plan by the developer and we will keep members informed accordingly.”

They say they are aware of similar issues arising in other counties and the mater is now being examined at Department level.

Councillor Donal Kelly, the Cathaoirleach of the Letterkenny-Milford MD, said the matter had ‘raised a lot of eyebrows and a lot of questions’.

He said: “It is terrible what has happened here in such a housing crisis.”

Councillor Kevin Bradley called for a workshop on the supply of social housing.

“We have desperate measures here - everyone is asking about housing,” he said. “We are in dire straits here. I feel that the Government has let us down. The whole thing is completely wrong.”

The last update seen by Donegal Live showed that there are now 2,835 Ukrainian refugees in Donegal with the number in Letterkenny rising to 461 and the figure in Bundoran now standing at 451.

There are 245 in Gweedore, 133 in Ardara, 177 in Milford, 173 in Killybegs, 153 in Donegal Town, 148 in Ballybofey, 122 in Kilmacrennan, 95 in Rossnowlagh, 94 in Carrick, 65 in Kilcar and 45 in Glenties.

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