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Claremorris housing agency ‘should be ashamed’

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PLEA Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Richard Finn has called on Clár ICH Voluntary Housing Association to house the affected tenants in Claremorris.

Disadvantaged people waiting four years for sheltered housing

Anton McNulty

Mayo County Council is taking legal action against a Claremorris housing agency for failing to house six disadvantaged tenants in a sheltered-housing estate. The dispute between the council and Clár ICH Voluntary Housing Association has been running for four years.
The Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, confirmed that legal action is being taken against Clár ICH, and that the sheltered accommodation is at the Mayfield Lake Sheltered Housing Estate in Claremorris.
The matter was raised at last week’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council by Cathaoirleach Richard Finn, who called on the agency to house the affected tenants.
“Unfortunately efforts to resolve this situation by means of mediation have failed to this point. I don’t want to get into the details of who said what, but it is now moving towards legal action, and we have instructed our legal team to initiate legal proceedings to try to move this situation, which is not acceptable, to a conclusion,” Peter Hynes told the meeting.
Clár ICH was established in 2000. Its stated objectives are “to carry on, for the benefit of the community, the provision of housing and associated amenities for persons in deprived or necessitous circumstances”, and “to provide for the relief of poverty and deprivation caused by poor housing conditions and homelessness or other social and economic circumstances.”

‘Board should resign’
Cllr Finn told his fellow councillors that Mayo County Council offered to pay the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) level of rent for the properties so the tenants could be housed, but without success.
He explained that one of the tenants is living in ‘sub-standard accommodation’, adding that he cannot believe a housing agency is refusing to let tenants move into the homes.
“They [the sheltered accommodation units] have been left there for the last four years. Can you imagine brand new houses being left vacant for four years to this day? I don’t know what [other] country would allowed that to happen,” he said.
Cllr Finn was supported by a number of his fellow councillors, who backed the action taken by the council. Cllr Michael Kilcoyne claimed that Clár ICH Voluntary Housing Association had received 90 percent State funding to build the houses, and that the actions of its board were motivated by greed.
“The board should be ashamed of themselves. They are leaving people in very poor conditions while the houses paid for by the taxpayer are closed. It is about money and greed and this organisation wanting more money. That is it in a nutshell. Really the board should resign.”
Mr Hynes added that while his door is always open to Clár ICH Voluntary Housing Association should the organisation want to engage in a ‘reasonable discussion’, legal action is inevitable at this stage.
In 2010, the Irish Government gave more than €5 million to Clár ICH Voluntary Housing Association for the construction of the Mayfield Lake Sheltered Housing Estate.

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