HAP rental scheme ‘complete and utter drain on the state’

By Brendan Grehan

SOUTH DUBLIN County Council paid out €22.1 million in Housing Assistance Payments in 2017, more than any other local authority in the country. On foot of a motion put down by Councillor Dermot Looney at the most recent weeks meeting of SDCC, concerns were raised by councillors over the HAP scheme.

In the motion Cllr Looney said that “even if there is no increase in the net HAP paid out over the next five years, the amount will be equivalent to the building of almost 600 Council homes”.

houses

He called for the Chief Executive to liaise with Government “to ensure a ramped-up building and purchase programme for social housing in this County and across Ireland”.

Councillor Ruth Nolan said HAP was a “complete and utter drain on the state”.

She added : “It [HAP] gives tenants no security of tenure. It’s not sustainable.”

Councillor Emer Higgins said that HAP was “not a subsidisation of private landlords” by the Government while her party colleague Brian Lawlor argued that the number of people using HAP in SDCC was so high because of the low differential rent of 10 per cent.

Councillor Mick Murphy told the meeting that there was plenty of money in the economy.

Serious discrimination

Solidarity councillor Brian Leech said there was “serious discrimination” by landlords across the county towards HAP applicants.

The Council said HAP is part of “rebuilding Ireland” and was first introduced in Limerick in April 2004.

It was rolled out nationally during 2016 and 2017.

As of January 29 last, SDCC has processed 2366 HAP tenancies, and there are currently 2228 open HAP tenancies.

 Cllr Looney described HAP as a “bad model”.

His motion was passed with no votes against but with abstentions from Fine Gael and Renua Councillor Ronan McMahon.

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