COUN­CIL ‘FOBS OFF’ TOR­TURED ES­TATE’S FEARS

RES­I­DENTS IN FOUN­TAIN COURT FEEL COUN­CIL IS ‘PASS­ING THE BUCK’ OVER THE AC­TIONS OF ANTI SO­CIAL GROUP

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SI­MON BROUDER

KERRY County Coun­cil is un­der pres­sure to deal with a small num­ber of so­cial hous­ing ten­ants who are mak­ing life a mis­ery for the other res­i­dents of Foun­tain Court es­tate.

For two years res­i­dents of the es­tate have been pe­ti­tion­ing the coun­cil to try to get the anti-so­cial ten­ants re­moved.

Res­i­dents have told The Ker­ry­man they are liv­ing in “hell” due to their “night­mare neigh­bours”.

At Mon­day’s meet­ing of Tralee Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict’s coun­cil Coun­cil­lors Sam Locke and Gra­ham Spring tabled mo­tions about the on­go­ing prob­lems in the es­tate.

In re­sponse coun­cil man­age­ment said the group in­volved are housed un­der the State’s Rental Ac­com­mo­da­tion Scheme (RAS) and, le­gally speak­ing, are not coun­cil ten­ants.

Even though the coun­cil man­ages RAS lo­cally, man­age­ment ar­gue that the ten­ants’ be­hav­iour is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the prop­erty’s ac­tual owner and not the lo­cal au­thor­ity that housed them.

Man­age­ment also claimed that many of the is­sues in the es­tate are a task for gar­daí.

The re­sponse was slated by Cllr Locke who ac­cused man­age­ment of “fob­bing off” the fear­ful res­i­dents.

KERRY County Coun­cil is com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to deal with a small num­ber of its so­cial hous­ing ten­ants who are mak­ing life a mis­ery for the res­i­dents of a Tralee es­tate.

At Mon­day’s monthly meet­ing of the Tralee Mu­nic­i­pal Dis­trict Coun­cil In­de­pen­dent Coun­cil­lor Sam Locke and Labour Coun­cil­lor Gra­ham Spring both tabled mo­tions rais­ing con­cerns about on­go­ing se­ri­ous anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the Foun­tain Court Es­tate.

For al­most two years res­i­dents of the es­tate have been pe­ti­tion­ing the Hous­ing De­part­ment at Kerry County Coun­cil to try to get a small num­ber of so­cial hous­ing ten­ants re­moved from the es­tate.

Res­i­dents say they are liv­ing in “hell” due to the con­stant anti-so­cial be­hav­iour of their “night­mare neigh­bours”.

On one oc­ca­sion the Garda Armed Re­sponse Unit was dis­patched to deal with dis­tur­bances caused by the group while res­i­dents say they have been sub­jected to con­stant threats, abuse, ha­rass­ment and tres­pass­ing.

In re­sponse to the cllrs mo­tions Coun­cil man­age­ment said that anti-so­cial be­hav­iour is a “com­plex area”, and that many of the is­sues aris­ing in Foun­tain Court were ac­tu­ally the re­spon­si­bil­ity of gar­daí.

Man­age­ment said that it has held sev­eral meet­ings with res­i­dents to dis­cuss their con­cerns and it re­mained ac­tive in the es­tate in part­ner­ship with the gar­daí.

The coun­cil­lors were told that all coun­cil res­i­dents in the es­tate are “aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” and that any “is­sues” that arise with coun­cil ten­ants are dealt with us­ing stan­dard pro­ce­dures.

Man­age­ment said that the small group at the cen­tre of the prob­lems in the es­tate are ac­tu­ally housed un­der the State Rental Ac­com­mo­da­tion Scheme (RAS) and are not ac­tu­ally ten­ants of Kerry County Coun­cil.

While Kerry County Coun­cil man­ages the RAS scheme lo­cally man­age­ment said the coun­cil is not the ten­ants’ land­lord and has no pow­ers to deal with their be­hav­iour.

Man­age­ment also claimed that the sit­u­a­tion has “sta­bilised” in re­cent months.

Cllr Locke said the coun­cil was obliged to act and pro­tect the res­i­dents of the es­tate – sev­eral of whom were in the cham­ber – and ac­cused man­age­ment of “pass­ing the buck” and “fob­bing off ” res­i­dents.”

“We can’t take a back­seat on this,” said Cllr Locke.

“I agree that 99 per cent of coun­cil ten­ants are very good and well be­haved but in this par­tic­u­lar case a small group of peo­ple who were housed by this au­thor­ity have breached ev­ery sin­gle rule, ev­ery sin­gle one,” Cllr Locke said.

Cllr Spring, the Mayor of Tralee, also de­manded ac­tion.

“What’s hap­pen­ing is not ac­cept­able,” he said.

Res­i­dents need to be con­fi­dent that ac­tion is be­ing taken to deal with the prob­lems they are fac­ing.

“The Gar­daí and this au­thor­ity need to work in tan­dem on this. Peo­ple should be able to en­joy their place of res­i­dence,” Mayor Spring said.

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