The elected members of the Claremorris Electoral Area were told the high level of rent allowance given to people, compared to the cost of renting homes from the council, was deterring people from taking up offers from the council.
Padraig Flanagan, senior executive officer for Mayo County Council, told the meeting that last year in the Ballinrobe area the council made 30 offers of homes to people on the housing list, but 19 of those offers were refused. He went on to say that the council’s valuation of rents to be paid were based on economic rents, and the current over supply of new build houses in the area combined with the amount of money given to people in rent allowances, often led to people preferring to stay in private rented accommodation rather than take up the offer from the council.
Fine Gael councillor Michael Burke asked Mr Flanagan how many people were on the housing list in the Ballinrobe area; he was told there are currently 90 people on the list. The councillors all agreed that the current system of calculating rents for the council compared to the rents in the private sector is something that would have to be examined. Cllr Patsy O’Brien also called on the council to ensure that no one took up squatting in these vacant council houses as there had been problems with it before.