Fine Gael Cllr Paraic Brady
The problem of local authority being returned to Council chiefs in an unfit state of repair was hammered home last week with one local politician describing some as being akin “to pigs living in them”.
Cllr Paraic Brady lambasted the condition a growing number of social housing units were found in when the keys were handed back to the local authority at the end of certain tenancy agreements.
The Fine Gael representative said the monetary demands being asked on councils like Longford to refurbish damaged properties was becoming worryingly commonplace.
“We (Council) have tenants out there that are wrecking houses on us and it's a cost to the Council to put housing back into stock,” he said.
“To put some of the houses back into stock is just impossible. “
Cllr Brady said he has witnessed at first hand the state some units have been left in.
“It could take eight months (to carry out repairs) so all we can do is board them up.
“I have seen some of the properties given back to us and you would think pigs were living in them,” he raged.
Fianna Fáil's Seamus Butler followed his Fine Gael counterpart up by calling on the Council to adopt a tougher stance with those suspected of being involved in such activity.
“If we are presented with a property that has been criminally damaged, we (Council) should follow those people up and charge them,” he said.
“There is no sanction for these people.
“These people should be charged and brought to court.”
They were urgings which came on foot of a request by Cllr Gerry Warnock to kick-start a review of Longford County Council's Housing Maintenance policy.
The Independent local councillor focused much of his pleas on a need to update current guidelines surrounding heating systems, securing and clearing voids and setting in motion formal procedures which allow for requests to be processed in a “more uniform and expedient manner”.
Cllr Warnock likened the difficulties facing local councillors in securing housing maintenance assistance for constituents as an “ongoing war of attrition.”
Cllr Mae Sexton, alternatively, said efforts needed to be directed at speeding up the turnaround time in which vacant units can be returned to the Council's housing stock.