Wexford People

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Wexford People

16 years waiting on a house...but still no joy


Brian Dempsey at his family’s home in Liam Mellows Park.

Brian Dempsey at his family’s home in Liam Mellows Park.

Brian Dempsey at his family’s home in Liam Mellows Park.

Calls have been made for Wexford County Council to take action on a case which has seen a local man left waiting 16 years on the housing list, where he is still no closer to being housed.

Brian Dempsey works long shifts as a delivery driver for Tesco before returning to the family home in Liam Mellows Park where he occupies a box room used for storage. His brother and sister also live at home with his parents.

'It's not ideal at all,' he said. 'It's fairly cramped and I'm in a room that's really just used for storing stuff. It's a bed and that's really it.'

Up until September of last year, Brian had been living in John Street, but was forced to return to the family home. His name was first placed on the housing list back in 2004 and, since then, his circumstances have changed significantly.

'When I first went on the housing list I was looking for a two-bed house,' he explains. 'I had my son with me at that stage, but he ended up having a child and moving out with the girlfriend, so then I was placed on the list for a one-bed house around 10 years ago. I've been told that there's just no one bedroom houses being built. Essentially, I'm waiting for someone to die to get into one. I was told I could be waiting a lifetime.'

Brian said that he had requested that he be allowed to go on the list for a two-bedroom house, but this appeal fell on deaf ears with Wexford County Council.

'I have two grandchildren now and I explained to the council that I'd need another room so that they could come stay with me at the weekends and that kind of thing,' he explained. 'They told me I'd have to stay on the list for a one bedroom house though. So even if I got it, I couldn't have my grandchildren over or anything.'

Left somewhat dejected by the situation, Brian is not optimistic that his situation will be resolved any time soon, as much as he'd like it to be.

'The way things are going, it's an absolute joke,' he said. 'You can't go up and talk to anyone about it and they're insisting that I stay on the one bed list even though there's absolutely none available and none being built. If they give me a house, I'll be paying whatever it is per week. It's not like I'm looking for it for free. I'm doing my best and trying to work away here.'

Sinn Féin councillor Tom Forde has taken up Brian's case and says it's shocking that anybody could be left waiting on the housing list for so long.

'What's even more frustrating is that this is not an isolated case,' he said. 'There are many, many more in a similar position. People like Brian work hard and shouldn't be out in a position where they feel they have to fight for a roof over their head for so long. There is such a shortage of properties available and those that are available often have inflated rents.'

'The council and their staff do the very best they can with very limited resources. The main problem here is a lack of real council funding from government to build sufficient social housing. Instead we have seen a reliance on the private market and HAP.'

'We have people who are waiting, for what some might class as a lifetime, to be housed and through no fault of their own. They have done everything by the book but they have still been left behind with no light at the end of the tunnel.'

Wexford People