Ulster Unionist MLA, Tom Elliott has hit out at Department of Social Development officials after learning that a review of housing provision in rural areas in Fermanagh has not resulted in the necessary work needed being undertaken.
In a statement, Mr Elliott said: “A survey studying the need for improved Rural Housing provision was carried out by Rural Community Network following discussions with Housing Executive. It was focused on a number of areas in Fermanagh including Newtownbutler, Rosslea, Belleek, Boa, Belcoo, Garrison, Derrygonnelly, Derrylin, Boho, Cleenish and Letterbreen. However, despite the fact that a significant amount of improvements were highlighted as needing addressed, the vast majority of work applied for has been rejected by Housing Executive due to economic difficulties.”
“I am not blaming the Housing Executive for the economic hardship they are facing – it is a much bigger problem which is having an impact on all departments across Northern Ireland – but I am extremely disappointed and frustrated that the survey was carried out and not acted upon, in at least some manner. Those rural areas which were surveyed are in dire need of work, so surely some funding should be focused on addressing that need. If this is not going to be the case then you really have to ask why RCN was commissioned to carry out the survey which looks like having been a waste of time and money. Furthermore, it also means people will question the weight given to rural funding priorities by the Housing Executive and indeed the Department for Social Development in general.”
“It is not too late for the Housing Executive to take the necessary action highlighted by the survey. However, if they do not act and address the real need that exists then the problems that already exist will only get worse and end up costing more in the long term.