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Residents told vacant units will not be used by ‘drifters’


‘NO AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED’ Mayo County Council Secretary, John Condon.

Anton McNulty

THE Secretary of Mayo County Council has reassured residents of a Castlebar estate that there is no agreement with St Vincent de Paul to house homeless people on an emergency basis in vacant units in their estate.
Members of the Cois Abhainn Residents Association attended last week’s monthly meeting of Castlebar Municipal District where they raised concerns over rumours the Council were to lease apartments from St Vincent de Paul, and use them for emergency accommodation.
Speaking on behalf of the residents, Chairman Martin Corcoran said their main concern was that people would arrive in Castlebar, and without any Garda vetting be given emergency accommodation in their estate.
He said the residents had no objection to the Council leasing the property but on the provision it was to people on the housing list and felt it was not a suitable place for emergency accommodation.
The concerns of the residents were supported by the councillors who asked why there had been no consultation with the residents and asked for clarity on any agreement with St Vincent de Paul.

No agreement
John Condon, Secretary of Mayo County Council, told the meeting that no agreement has been reached with St Vincent de Paul and the Council want the units leased on a long-term basis.
“I want to stress and be very clear about this, no agreement has been entered into and we might never enter into any agreement,” he told the meeting. “We won’t enter into an agreement unless we are satisfied that this is the best way to use the apartments.
“At this stage there is no agreement and we will not enter into an agreement without consulting with you [residents]. But we may seek to explore what is the best way to ensure that those houses do not remain vacant. It is better if they are occupied by people on a long-term basis and whose needs are met by occupying them,” he said.
There are currently 1,200 people on the housing waiting list in the Castlebar Municipal District and Mr Condon said the Council have for many years let houses to meet the needs of those on the housing list.
He said the current apartments in question which are one-bedroom apartments have been unoccupied for ‘considerable time’ and they do not like to see empty units when they have a housing list.
Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne told the meeting he understood the residents’ concern where people can ‘drift’ into town and be given accommodation in a residential area without knowing who they are.
He said the Council had a number of sites such as the military barracks which would be more suitable for emergency accommodation.
All the councillors who spoke did so in favour of the residents’ concerns but were also positive about Mr Condon’s reply that no agreement has been entered into and none will be without consultation with residents.

3011 MPU