CITY COUNCIL is tightening up its strategy in tackling antisocial behaviour on its housing estates In conjunction with the Garda Siochana, resulting in more of the perpetrators coming before the courts. A serious stumbling block encountered by those forced to leave their homes was, that once they vacated, albeit, driven out by thuggery and in some cases, fear for their lives, they ceased to be tenants of Limerick City Council and were not,
therefore, entitled to seek alternative council accommodation.
Said Cllr Ger Fahy: “You are dealing with real people with real and awful problems, so there is an urgency to tackle the issue and reduce the unbelievable stress that people have to endure, through no fault of their own.
“There have been severe cutbacks on the HSE budgets but the process has been tightened up and there should now be no delay in making a decision to provide accommodation for such people, sooner, rather than later – what is essential though, is better and quicker consultation. We must take a lesson from situations which have emerged and learn from them”.
Last September, this newspaper reported on the plight of the mother and four children forced to flee their estate.
They found refuge with relatives, which resulted in the family unit being broken up, and the eldest of the children became so traumatised that he could not go to school, while a daughter would not go outside.
The family had to move from one relative’s house to another .
“Only for relatives, we’d be on the road, but they too have young families so we have to keep moving,” the mother told this newspaper at the time.
She said she had been asked by City Hall to furnish letters from the Garda Siochana, in order to qualify for rent allowance for other accommodation but despite doing so, her situation remained the same.
Cllr Ger Fahy, when contacted by the Limerick Post, confirmed that he was au fait with the situation and was endeavouring to secure a positive outcome for the family.
The family has since been rehoused in another area and “delighted to be reunited and getting on with their normal lives again”.
Cllr Fahy said the family’s trauma had been prolonged because of having to deal with three State bodies – Limerick City Council, the Garda Siochana and the HSE.
“I could see the frustration and stress of each family member and how dysfunctional they were becoming. I found this very upsetting but after ongoing consultation with the agencies involved, the situation was resolved – where the circumstances are straightforward and people know the full facts, there should be no delay by the authorities in liaising quickly and no reason why an early decision cannot be made”.