Fianna Fáil’s Dublin Bay South by-election candidate has defended her comments about a former Latvian tenant in a blog she ran about being a landlord.
Cllr Deirdre Conroy wrote the ‘Diary of a Dublin Landlady’ Blog in 2013 and 2014, in which she recounted her experiences as a landlord, as well as negative experiences with a Latvian tenant.
After the man moved out, she wrote that she was “especially relieved with my current lodgers, after the Latvian experience, better to stick with what you know if you have to share your house”.
She also wrote that she found out that he had applied for Child Benefit for his five-year-old child in Latvia after sorting his rubbish.
"That’s strange I thought, he’s only in the country three weeks and he’s applying to have 200 euro per month sent to his child in Latvia. It seems he was put right on to it before he arrived,” she wrote.
In the blog, Ms Conroy referred to the tenant as Kovac.
Ms Conroy complained about the “rancid smell of rice and oats” that the tenant had been cooking one morning.
In response to queries from Independent.ie, Ms Conroy said that the blog was written in a “light hearted manner”.
“It was written in a light hearted manner and commented on my experience of renting out a room in my house. I had many good experiences and some bad ones,” she said.
“I also described, in general, the people renting my room but I was not in any way trying to suggest that people from Latvia were bad tenants. I had one bad experience with a tenant who happened to be from Latvia.”
“Anyone who knows me will know that I am a very inclusive person who is committed to ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their background, is treated equally,” she added.
Cllr Conroy said that in 2013, she needed to rent out a room in her house due to “severe financial constraints”.
“I had a large mortgage and a family to look after on my own. I was also trying at that time to get some work in journalism and therefore started a blog,” she said.
“I no longer rent out my spare room,” she added.
Despite now being in the race for the Dáil, Cllr Conroy wrote in her blog in 2013 that there is a need for more elites.
“The Dáil needs more so called ‘elite’, professionally qualified practitioners, industrialists, thinkers and do-ers and less school teachers on long term leave,” she wrote.
She did not clarify this comment when requested by Independent.ie.
The website ‘On the Ditch’ reported that Ms Conroy wrote in the blog that her message to US pop star Miley Cyrus would be that “you are a powerful young woman, use it wisely, you've had more online hits than the children in Syria, you've had your moment, spend it well”.
The Kimmage-Rathmines councillor also did not clarify this comment.
Ms Conroy also referred to renting out “the linen cupboard which is a perfectly nice single room, I could possibly put a student into.”
She said that this reference “was a light hearted reference to the spare room”.
Fianna Fáil did not respond to a request for comment.