Residents claim they’ve had to make way for refugees
RESIDENTS in Ferrybank claim they have been forced to leave their homes in order to provide accommodation for other families. A number of residents in a Ferrybank estate say they were issued with a notice to terminate their lease.They claim their landlord sold their homes to Kilkenny County Council for use as housing for refugees.
Kilkenny County Council is engaged in providing housing to refugees who have been residing in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres.
Under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, local authorities have been given an allocation of refugees to accommodate based on existing population and demand for social housing.
Residents in Abbeygate (also known as Abbey Meadows) who spoke to The Munster Express say they have experienced huge pressure and stress and are confused as to why the Council would want to evict one family in order to house another family.
One resident claims the Council directly contacted them seeking the contact details of his landlord. The purpose of the contact, the resident claims, was so that the Council could make an offer to purchase the property. He believes this suggests that the Council is being proactive in acquiring homes – fully knowing that if their approach to the landlord is successful, the existing tenant will be told to vacate. Asked by The Munster Express if the Council is buying homes in the estate and the wider Ferrybank area in which to house other families, a spokesperson for Kilkenny County Council said it is required to deliver housing solutions to meet its housing need as provided under the Rebuilding Ireland Programme.
The spokesperson confirmed that the Council has provided housing for at least four refugee families in the Ferrybank area.
“This Council acquires houses on the open market to meet specific needs. Kilkenny County Council has acquired a number of vacant properties in Abbeygate, Ferrybank in recent months,” the spokesperson said.“Kilkenny County Council has not evicted any tenant in the area. The actions of any private landlord are not a matter for this Council.”
However, this has been disputed by residents in the area. The Munster Express understands that the affected tenants were simply told to vacate their homes as requested and then present themselves as homeless to the Council. Recently, at a joint meeting of the Piltown and New Ross Municipal Districts, the New Ross Standard reported that Cllr Michael Sheehan (FF) drew attention to a housing estate in Rosbercon where Kilkenny County Council bought houses.
Cllr Sheehan said tenants in Rosbercon were thrown out “on to the road” and other tenants (Syrian refugees) were given the houses.However, Cllr Melissa O’Neill (Ind) said tenants are often in houses owned by private landowners who choose to sell their homes.“As a matter of policy Kilkenny County Council will not buy a house if it will make someone homeless,” she said.
“Private landlords sell their houses every day of the week. Just because a Syrian family goes into it that shouldn’t mean there is an issue.”She pointed out that three to four Syrian families are housed in many small towns and the money spent on their housing comes from specific funding for refugees. Cllr O’Neill spoke of the situation which arose in Ferrybank where there are 2,000 people on the housing list. “The tenants would have received notice from their own landlords and we then acquired housing. We had four families who were put into one estate and they fitted in fantastically well,” she said.“There were some neighbours who were upset but they went out and welcomed them and hopefully they will welcome them here also.”