Irish Housing Network aid residents threatened with eviction in Offaly

Date:

Members of the Kildare branch of the Irish Housing Network were invited to attend a meeting in Tullamore 9th September  by concerned residents of 'Lann Elo', a facility. Five members of Housing Action Kildare (IHN), two local Offaly county councillors, one Fianna Fail TD and one Sinn Fein TD were in attendance, along with eight residents.

Eight residents and a number of young children were advised in writing on 23rd August that they had to be out of the facility by 6th October or their cases may be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board. This caused a great deal of unnecessary stress for residents, especially those with young children as they did not know what this process would entail.

Residents told the meeting that promises of permanent council housing did not materialise due to the current housing crisis. Any houses that did come up were offered to homeless people who are deemed to be in even greater need due to the fact that they are currently housed in B&B's or other emergency accommodation. Previously, residents were advised that they would be housed long before any notice to vacate would be issued.

So the residents are stuck in what is meant to be temporary accommodation, being told that they have to move out, but with nowhere to go to. Both Offaly county council and Tullamore Housing Association Ltd. are well aware of this but still issued these letter without simply advising residents that they would not be thrown out onto the streets.

Additionally, the meeting heard that officials at Offaly County Council were less than helpful and in many cases refused to meet with residents to clarify what was going to happen. Understandably, this caused a huge amount of stress to people who already have enough to worry about.

One of the Offaly councillors said that he will
1) try to get the eviction notice rescinded and
2) work to ensure that in future a certain percentage of council houses will be offered to residents in Lann Elo so they can move out into permanent housing more suitable for families with young children.

Two of the attending TD's said they would meet with the Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy on Monday to discuss the situation but it is unclear that any solution that will help residents will be forthcoming. A follow up meeting is to be held in approximately two weeks time to see if any progress is being made.

Words: Brian Ancom

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