13 May 2010 Edition

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Lowest earners hit by Meath County Council back-rent measures

Mayor of Navan and Meath Sinn Féin Councillor Joe Reilly has slammed the decision to hit pensioners and other low-income families with a six-month backdated bill for rent increases.
Rent assessments which should have been carried out in December by Navan Town Council are only now being completed, with tenants being expected to pay back for six months. Mayor Reilly said
“Most of the lowest-income households in Navan will be hit by this backdated rent increase by the council. By their very nature, people who qualify for council housing are already on low income. Many of them are pensioners, lone parents and low-waged. These tenants have abided by the system. They have submitted their rent assessment forms back in November. For the council to wait for six months before they process these assessments is not acceptable. Those that have a rent increase are now expected to make a lump sum backdated payment for six months. The saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is quite fitting.
“I have spoken with officials and have made my feelings known in no uncertain terms. If people are to have an increase in rent then so be it but this increase should not be backdated to December as proposed.”

Emergency housing in Derry

DERRY Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has called for an urgent review of the provision of temporary and emergency accommodation in the city.
His call comes after it was revealed that nearly 450 people needed temporary accommodation in Derry over the past three years with 150 people currently in temporary accommodation.
“These figures are staggering and come on top of the hundreds of people already on the waiting lists for social homes in the city,” he said.
“This situation has been brought about because the Department of Social Development is dragging its feet on the new-build plans of social housing for the over 1,500 people homeless in the city.
“We always have to be mindful that behind the figures are many families’ personal stories  in this city.”

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