Offaly - Sean O'Brien


Sean O'Brien

Contact: 086 389 2854


What issues do you think are most important to people in your electoral area?

  • HOUSING is a major issue. This affects people at all levels as young people cannot afford the big asking prices of new houses.  Affordable housing is in short supply and people awaiting social housing are on waiting lists for ten years and more.  There are 1437 people on the Council's waiting list with many of these having to rent with the assistance of the HAP scheme.  Those on HAP are often in poor accommodation and the cost is too high as tenants are left with as little as €40 per week to live on.   BUILD MORE HOUSES.

  • ROAD and Footpath repair is a big problem everywhere, especially over the past year as we have had a heavy rainfall continuously.  We need more resources to tackle this and I raised this issue at the March meeting of the Council.

  • PUBLIC LIGHTING  has come under scrutiny as many lights were not being repaired and people feel uneasy in both urban and rural areas.

  • JOBS is still an issue as Tullamore and Offaly is not getting it's fair share of new industry.

  • The increased in the COST OF LIVING affects everybody, especially the cost of fuel and electricity.  People have noticed the increased cost of food.

  • HEALTH services continues to be a major problem for families as the waiting lists grow and access to a GP is now limited.

 What issues are coming up on the doorstep?

  • There is a feeling of frustration among people that the Government is not solving problems and is out of touch.  Democracy is top down with the Government dictating everything and local representatives are not being listened to.  That frustration was mirrored in the recent rejection of the two Referendums.  It seems to people in Offaly that they do not matter and the focus is on Dublin.

  • Local issues are not being solved and people find it difficult to get a response from the Council when they either write in or make a phone call.  There is huge frustration about the state of our roads and footpaths; dumping not being controlled; public lights not being repaired.

  • Housing at all levels is a worry for people.  Children are continuing to live with their parents due to the high cost of rents and housing is just not affordable.  The condition of rental properties is not acceptable, especially in our wet and damp climate.

  • People who are working cannot afford rents and cannot save for a mortgage.  People cannot get on the Council waiting list due to being slightly over the income threshold simply cannot afford a mortgage.

 What projects in the area do you plan on championing if you are elected to the council?

  • A big focus on HOUSE BUILDING is required and I will ask the Council to draft a 5 year plan with increased targets for each year.  We need to make it easier for developers to build and red tape has to be taken out of the planning system.  The Council simply has to get back to building houses and not be influenced by the market economics of the right wing parties.

  • TULLAMORE town centre needs to be further developed and the projects we have in planning have to be delivered asap.  The Government has to assist this process by speeding up the processes for projects to start; the High St. to Tanyard link has been in process for over two years at this stage and should have been completed long ago.

  • A Masterplan for the development of the HARBOUR area in Tullamore is near completion and this will provide the basis for a major development which will give a huge boost to Tullamore as it will provide more housing and central retail and commercial development space.  I have been raising this for the past 5 years.

  • THE 52 BY-PASS at Durrow has been stalled by the Government for the past 3 years and I will be pursuing this at every opportunity in the next Council.  This an absolutely crucial development for both Durrow and Tullamore.

  • A new INDUSTRIAL PARK in Tullamore has to be developed immediately as we do not have space for major new industries.

  • We also need investment in potential economic developments in Clara, Ballycumber, Durrow, Mucklagh, Rahan, Mountbolus, Killeigh and Tubber.

 What are your ‘red-line’ issues when it comes to budget votes?

  • At the last election I promised people that I would not vote for an increase in the LOCAL PROPERTY TAX and I have kept my promise as I voted against any increase every time it was proposed by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.  I will continue to oppose any further increase.

  • The following are issues I want a focus on in future Budgets at Council level :

    • 1)   Investment in housing

    • 2)   Adequate housing repair budget

    • 3)   Bigger budget for Disabled Person's Grants and Housing Adaptation

    • 4)    Road and Footpath budgets

    • 5)    Public Lighting Budget

    • 6)    Industrial Park 

    • 7)   Town and Village development grants

    • 8)   Adequate resources for our Arts Centre, Town Park, Swimming Pools and   Playground facilities

 What steps would you like to see to tackle the housing crisis?

  • We need a change in Government policy.  The current Government believes that the market can meet housing demand, this is an old outdated philosophy.   Some housing is driven by market demand but affordable and social housing has to be provided directly by central Government.   We are now in a healthy financial position as a country and yet we are building fewer houses than when we were much poorer.  

  • Affordable and social housing has to be provided directly by Government.   The so called Housing for All policy is not working no matter how much the Government believe it is working.  Targets have to be much higher at national and local level.  Offaly County Council have targets set up to 2026 but I have constantly been saying at Council meetings that these targets are far too low.

  • Unfortunately we have a very conservative Council and there are only a few Councillors who support me when I raise this issue.

  • Tackling the Housing crisis is somewhat simple.....BUILD MORE HOUSES.

  • Th red tape for new social housing schemes is absolute nonsence.  It can take years from an initial decision to build until we actually see houses, there are simply too many stages in the process and of course this is deliberate, the Government can say at times that they have proposals to build a certain amount of houses without actually providing the money to get them started.

  • At this stage either the Government and Parties change their outlook or we will change the Government.


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