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Council urged to rehouse pyrite victims


Anton McNulty

A WEST Mayo councillor has called on Mayo County Council to stop paying lip service to tenants living in local authority housing affected by pyrite and to give a commitment to rehouse them.
The issue of pyrite-affected houses was raised at last week’s monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District where Erris-based councillor Gerry Coyle explained that ‘houses are crumbling down around people heads’.
The Fine Gael councillor described the blocks used in the buildings as ‘weetabix blocks’ which you could break with your finger and called the people who provided them ‘fraudsters’.
“I would not live in some of these houses … not a chance,” he told the meeting. “Are we going to move all of these people out of those houses? What are we going to do from our [Mayo County Council] side of things. What is happening is an absolute disgrace.”
He was supported by Fianna Fáil councillor Brendan Mulroy who said it was time the council stopped paying lip service to the people affected and give a commitment to rehouse them.
“Maybe at this stage, goodwill is needed. If these people are living in local authority houses we should look for funding to make houses available for these people to move into. We can’t deal with private individual houses, I appreciate that, but we have to look after people and, at the end of the day, they are our tenants in houses which are falling apart.
“It can be solved quickly and the people living in those houses can have peace of mind coming up to Christmas, knowing the Council are behind them. We are paying lip service but its time we came out as a council and say let’s rehouse them as soon as possible,” he said.
Director of Services, Catherine McConnell, explained that the council were engaged in discussions with the government department responsible. She said the department were sympathetic to the plight of the tenants and she expected to receive a report with ‘specific recommendations’ in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Westport-based Independent councillor Christy Hyland called for action to be taken against the owners of derelict houses. He said there were derelict buildings in Westport which were ‘an absolute disgrace’ and people in the town were sick of them.
In response, Ms McConnell described dealing with derelict buildings legislation as ‘tricky’, as property rights in Ireland was ‘almost sacrosanct’. She said they did have some success but they had to proceed carefully.
The issue of the convent site in Westport was also raised, with Cllr Tereasa McGuire saying the council had to ‘bite the bullet’ and decide what they wanted to do with it. Cllr Brendan Mulroy agreed saying that the council owned ‘the biggest derelict building in the town’.

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