Northern Ireland

NI Housing Executive faces repair bill of 'millions'

The chief executive of the NI Housing Executive has said the bill to repair homes damaged in the recent thaw could top £10m.

Stewart Cuddy said it had placed 30,000 orders for repairs with contractors.

The Housing Executive is responsible for social housing across Northern Ireland with about 90,000 properties in its current stock.

Thousands of homes were damaged during the thaw, many as a result of flooding caused by burst pipes.

Sinn Fein has criticised the Social Development Minister Alex Attwood, who is responsible for the Housing Executive, for not acting quickly enough to help people whose homes have been damaged.

Mr Cuddy admitted that his organisation had been "caught slightly on the back foot" by the initial scale of the problems.

"We have learned lessons from this clearly," Mr Cuddy added.

"What we did do is very quickly extended our emergency service capability - we relocated to a bigger building and we tooled up on the staff resourcing and the telephony and eventually we did get on top of it.

"But it was a very challenging time for us, our contractors, and no doubt our tenants as well."

He said that his organisation would be approaching the Northern Ireland Executive to ask it to help fund the repairs.

He said that if this bid was not successful, then the organisation would have to consider cutting other areas including the new kitchens programme.

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