THE SPOTLIGHT was cast on the issue of housing in Carlow town at the Town Council meeting last week. Panic and confusion ensued when a generic letter was sent out to all tenants occupying council housing in the town listing what maintenance the tenants are responsible for.
Councillor Jennifer Murnane O'Connor said: 'If I received one phone call I received 20 about a letter which was sent out to all tenants stating what they were responsible for maintaining in their home. While there are certain things on the list that are quite reasonable for householders to take care of themselves, others such as the maintenance of gas boilers fall under our care and we are required to check them annually. Time and time again, vulnerable groups such as the elderly are being knocked down and this letter did nothing to stop that, in fact it frightened them.'
Carlow Town Council cathaoirleach Tom O'neill said: ' The letter did upset a lot of people. The majority of people living in local authority housing are excellent tenants and to send a letter like that gave the impression that we, the Town Council, were abandoning them.'
Councillor Anne Ahern added: 'From the correspondence I had with people, they were inclined to believe that we had approved such a letter, which is most worrying.'
Councillor Murnane O'connor continued: 'A letter such as this should always come before us and we, as councillors, should be informed of it.'
Councillor Des Hurley said: 'Every single one of those tenants should be offered a full apology for receiving such a letter.'
Meanwhile, concerns were also raised regarding rent reviews. Councillor Murnane O'connor said: 'From what I have heard rent reviews are not being carried out. I do not know why, maybe it is due to staff shortages, but people's circumstances are constantly changing and so it is important that we carry out rent reviews regularly in order to make sure there are no discrepancies.'