CONCERNS Cllr Michael Burke has argued that Ballinrobe is not equipped to provide emergency accommodation in the town.
BALLINROBE-based councillor Michael Burke called on Mayo County Council to stop placing people in emergency accommodation in Ballinrobe due to the lack of services in the town.
Cllr Burke accused the Council of a lack of planning in placing 30 percent of people in need of emergency accommodation in Ballinrobe.
The Fine Gael councillor said that providing emergency accommodation in locations with no homelessness services was ‘very unfair’, both on locals and on the people requiring the emergency accommodation.
“The people of Ballinrobe have always taken pride in caring for their own and many families in the area have taken in refugees fleeing the war in the Ukraine. We are always happy to play our part. However, the people of Ballinrobe will not stand for a situation whereby the council see fit to place people in areas where there are none of the necessary supports,” Cllr Burke stated.
“The council are notoriously strict on telling people where they can build a home and what kind of home they can build,” he continued, “but seem to have taken a very haphazard approach to homing people themselves.
“The council, like all the people of our country, is well aware that homelessness has been rising over the past number of years, so the lack of planning here is not excusable.”
Cllr Burke said Ballinrobe should not house any more people in emergency accommodation until a plan is put in place for each municipal district.
“Additionally, people who have already been accommodated in this unplanned manner should be re-accommodated in places where there are the appropriate services to meet their needs as soon as possible,” he added.
Councillors from Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District were told that there are concerns about the fair distribution of emergency accommodation across the county.
Head of Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District Padraic Flanagan said the council’s housing section is holding a meeting to address the issue.
MEANWHILE the total number of people living in emergency accommodation in Mayo has been described as ‘disappointing’ by a senior county council official.
Tom Gilligan, Director of Services for Housing, was commenting figures that show that 90 people, including 43 children, are living in private emergency accommodation in the county.
This represents a rise of 28 since August, when The Mayo News revealed that 62 people were accessing emergency accommodation in the county.
Nationally, the number of people living in emergency accommodation recently rose to a record high of nearly 11,000. This figure does not include people sleeping rough, people in direct provision or refugees from Ukraine.
Mr Gilligan described the situation as ‘a significant challenge’ for local authorities.
He said he is ‘confident’ that Mayo County Council will deliver its target of 90 new social housing units before the end of the year.
The council is aiming to deliver 1,004 houses by 2026, which would exceed the targets set under the Housing For All Plan.
“Mayo County Council remains committed to reducing the number of people in emergency accommodation and in line with Government policy the Council intends to eradicate homelessness by 2030,” Mr Gilligan told The Mayo News.