Leeside Apartments, which was purchased by Clúid earlier this year, is an example of Cork City Council's multi-faceted approach to addressing the housing crisis.

Cork ‘a harbour of communities’

Brian Geaney, Director of Housing and Community, says the Council will be supplying 420 new social housing units in 2019. Between new builds in the city, purchases made through acquisition and leasing and assistance provided through schemes such at the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Mr Geaney says the council hopes to provide 1,300 housing solutions this year.

“Cork city is unique in these islands in having an urban water frontage with its channels and islands. Such uniqueness of character and identity aside from attracting people, tourism and enterprise has obvious quality of life and liveability benefits.

Other countries of a similar size to Ireland have a higher population share living in their second-tier cities like Cork. While our ‘second cities’ are too small, this is now set to change, with projections for strong population growth in Ireland relative to our peers.

With the city expanding, we now have responsibility for over 10,000 council homes, making Cork City Council one of the largest housing authorities in the country. This is exciting, and a task not without its challenges.

The key to smart cities is the provision of an adequate supply of low energy housing at a reasonable cost. High energy costs will be totally unsustainable in ten years’ time and could consume a major portion of disposable income. Finding adequate solutions will require more innovative thinking and substantial changes in the way we operate.

Cork City Council has substantially ramped up its resources to action delivery this year, 2020 and beyond. It will manage its programme through traditional and smart procurement routes including turn-key and traditional building contracts, the competitive dialogue procurement and collaboration with authorised housing bodies to deliver homes and later this year, affordable homes.

Innovative interventions have resulted in new communities of social houses and apartments across the city such as Church Road, Blackrock, Arus Mhuire, Skehard Road, Togher, Knocknaheeny, Blackpool, Leeside Apartments and others, with novel schemes well under construction to open this year in Deanrock, Blarney Street, High Street, White Street, Fairhill and Hollyhill.

A pipeline of developments are at various stages of procurement to deliver more units across the city, with an affordable housing scheme about to be launched to the market at Boherboy Road and the infrastructure for a whole new community about to be installed at Old Whitechurch Road.

This investment amounting to hundreds of millions of euros has helped rekindle the construction industry in Cork, and is regenerating parts of the city.

The Council have found the people of Cork very positive and very supportive in dealing with change and expect that much more collaboration will be needed over the coming years. We are on the cusp of a major transformation, and sustainable housing and quality of life for its citizens are a priority for the Council. The decisions and actions we take, or fail to take now, will have a major influence on the future of Cork, a harbour of opportunities.”