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Minister urged to rethink draconian five year housing list suspension – Ó Broin

20 February, 2019 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has urged the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to ‘rethink his draconian proposal to suspend housing lists applicants for five years for refusing two offers of Council housing’. The Minister confirmed the proposal during a Dáil debate today.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Today during Oral Questions, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy confirmed he planned to introduce a five year suspension from the housing list for applicants who refuse two offers of Council accommodation.

“This proposal in draconian, unnecessary and should be withdrawn. Today, I urged the Minister to rethink the proposal and to engage with the Oireachtas Housing Committee before proceeding any further.

“Many housing list applicants refuse offers of accommodation for entirely legitimate reasons. What a housing official may deem a reasonable offer may not actually meet the needs of the family. 

“Access to schools, public transport, and family support networks for childcare are the most common reasons for refusals. Some applicants also refuse offers in the small number of housing estates that have high levels of criminal and anti-social behaviour. Nobody should be penalised for refusing such inappropriate offers.

“In fact, if all Local Authorities introduced Choice Based Lettings, an online system for allocating social housing operated by 16 Councils, then the problem the Minister believes exists would be dealt with without penalising anyone.

“Choice Based Lettings gives housing applicants an element of choice over where they will live. It also dramatically reduces the time a property is vacant while the allocation process takes place.

“I do not accept that there are large numbers of people frivolously refusing appropriate offers of accommodation. If the Minister has evidence to the contrary, he should present that evidence to the Oireachtas Housing Committee.” 

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