“Borne out of utter frustration” were the words echoed by Athlone Deputy Mayor, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, as he addressed the reasoning for his referenced motion, ‘Council tenants who are repeat and regular offenders in respect of anti-social behaviour, illegal dumping, waste hoarding, and who dominate the attention of local authority staff’, at the monthly meeting of the Municipal District in recent times.
“There are continuous repeat presentations in this regard and it is an issue which will not be removed from our agenda until we address it thoroughly.
“In my view, such council tenants are repeat offending with regularity and now it is time we visit such Council tenants and inform them that they are in breach of local authority regulations with regard to their illegal activities.
“When, as a council, did we last apply a possession order to such tenants? Our regulations must be enforced going forward, as a Council we are way too lenient. If you, as a tenant, are a burden to the local authority there has to be sanctions applied.
“Fellow local authorities have very descriptive measures in place to nullify such illegal activities. The usual protagonists are simply ‘rubbing our noses in it’,” Cllr O’Rourke asserted.
Concurring with Cllr O’Rourke, Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, stated that rats were now commonplace in many council residences due to the stockpile of rubbish being hoarded to the rear of many local authority properties.
“As a local authority we are not doing as we should in this regard. There are decent families waiting to be homed on our housing waiting list and those who consistently flout the law must be held accountable,” Cllr Dolan stated.
“Horrendous” was the word uttered by Cllr Frankie Keena as he offered his full support for the motion raised.
“These tenants have no regard for the property in which they are housed and I am personally aware of residents who have to keep their windows firmly shut due to presence of flies at numerous rubbish sites to the rear of a number of council properties. This is wholly unacceptable.
Addressing the topic, Municipal District Mayor, Cllr Liam McDaniel, noted that a stricter regime pertaining to such illegal activities must be enforced throughout the region.
“Illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour is not just unique to urban settings,” Cllr McDaniel stressed.
In response, director of services, Barry Kehoe, stated that the motion would be further addressed at a future meeting of the Housing Strategic Policy committee who directly assess such occurrences.
Cllr O’Rourke stated that his motion would be “kept to the fore of his agenda”.
“I must stress once again that we need to enforce our regulations on those repeat offenders. It is simply indefensible that we allow such activities to go unchecked and I would hope that the Housing section come before us to address the situation at a future meeting,” Cllr O’Rourke concluded.