Hoarding is a serious issue in Limerick housing estates

ENVIRONMENT Minister Eamon Ryan has been asked to provide funding for local authorities to remove material hoarded by people in their homes over many years.

The call came from Limerick Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery who had a motion on the agenda at last Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting about the problem of hoarding in city housing estates.

The City East representative proposed that Limerick City and County Council write to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly for funding to treat people who are suffering from the mental health disorder known as compulsive hoarding or hoarding disorder.

She also called for the Environment Minister to allocate dedicated funding to local authorities to assist with the removal of hoarded material accumulated by people suffering from the disorder.

She said she had been contacted by many local residents on this issue.

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“Hoarding is now seen as a disorder,” Cllr Slattery told council members.

“In some cases, hoarding is a condition in itself and associated with self-neglect.

“A hoarding disorder is where a person gathers huge amounts of items and stores them. This is usually in a chaotic manner and results in amounts of clutter that are difficult to manage.”

Hoarding disorders are difficult to treat because many people who hoard do not regard it as a problem.

“They might not be aware of how it is affecting their lives or the lives of others. Some people who hoard realise they have a problem but are reluctant to seek help. They can feel ashamed, humiliated, or guilty about it.

“Significant hoarding can put individuals who hoard and their family members at serious risk of health problems, injury, homelessness, or in the worst case, death.

“Hoarding is not just in the home, it can be outside the home in front and back gardens. Hoarders tend to stockpile with items such as wood, paper, magazines. While this might seem harmless to stockpile such items in your garden it has a knock on effect to neighbours as the pile can get larger until there is no room left in the garden,” she explained.