Pursuance of £8m of public money welcomed - McCann
Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on Housing, Fra McCann, has said there is an onus on government to ensure that public money needs to be protected.
Commenting following the news that the Department of Social Development is to pursue Helm Housing for the return of almost £8m Mr McCann said:
“The news that the Department of Social Development is to pursue Helm Housing for almost £8m of unspent grants is to be welcomed.
“However we must be mindful that it was not the Department that uncovered this huge wastage but indeed an Audit Office report and questions need to be asked as to why there was such an oversight within the minister's office.
“This site at Great Georges Street was to see 200 social housing units built but the debt arose from a housing deal that went wrong given the collapse in the price of land following the property boom.
“Lessons undoubtedly need to be learned from the policies pursued during that era, policies that allowed this situation to arise where speculators made fortunes on the sale of over inflated land.
“There is also a need to ensure that public money is protected and in this case the Department have stated that they are minded to recover this money. They need to provide more clarity than this and actively pursue the £8m.”