Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has described the allocation of funding to retrofit only 45 of the county’s social houses as ‘woefully inadequate’.
Deputy Doherty had raised the issue with the Minister for the Environment through a Parliamentary Question recently. He said that there were many families in social housing in Donegal who were suffering through a cold winter, with higher heating costs, while waiting for their single-glazed windows to be replaced through the second phase of the Retrofit Scheme.
In response, the Minister confirmed that Donegal County Council was notified by the Department of a preliminary allocation of €1,220,546 with a requirement to retrofit a minimum of 45 properties.
Speaking this afternoon, Deputy Doherty said this Retrofit Scheme was split into two phases.
“The first phase of this scheme included pumping insulation into the walls of the houses, and I understand that this was completed in Donegal some time ago,” he explained.
“The second phase related to the replacement of single-glazed windows and doors which are not energy efficient.
“This funding announced recently for the second phase is woefully inadequate and won’t even nearly cover what is needed.
“I am aware that there is one estate in Lifford alone where there are 45 houses waiting on such works to be carried out.”
When this funding is divided out across the electoral areas in Donegal, each area would get funding for nine council houses.
In effect, in Lifford-Stranorlar, that’s one house completed in each town. It’s just not enough,” he added.
“I understand that Donegal County Council is in a position to proceed with the necessary improvements to dwellings and are simply waiting on the necessary level of funding.
“I will be raising the inadequacy of the funding announced with the Minister.
“This winter has been cold. It is not acceptable that families, elderly persons and children who are living in social housing in Donegal and elsewhere are waiting on double-glazed doors and windows. This has resulted in cold houses where the costs of heating have soared.”
“Piecemeal funding such as this will not improve the living conditions of people in Donegal and it won’t help us meet our environmental targets and responsibilities. I, along with our Sinn Féin councillors in Donegal, will continue to look for adequate funding for the Retrofit Scheme.”