Local TD Seán Crowe, has described the Minister for Housing’s plans to suspend housing lists applicants for five years for refusing two offers of council housing as cruel and out of touch. The Sinn Féin TD stated that this proposal needed to be scrapped.

Deputy Crowe said: “The Minister for Housing, has informed the Dáil that he is planning to introduce a five year suspension from the housing list for applicants who refuse two offers of Council accommodation. “This proposal is cruel, out of touch, unnecessary, and should be scrapped. “Many housing list applicants refuse offers of accommodation for entirely legitimate reasons. What a housing official may deem a reasonable offer may not actually meet the needs of a family. “Access to schools, public transport, and family support networks for childcare are the most common reasons for refusals. Some applicants also refuse offers in the small number of housing estates that have high levels of criminal and anti-social behaviour. Estates where they feel threatened, intimidated, or terrified of a particular family or individuals.  Nobody should be penalised for refusing such inappropriate offers.

“In fact, if all Local Authorities introduced Choice Based Lettings, the online system for allocating social housing operated by 16 Councils, then the problem the Minister believes supposedly exists would be dealt with without penalising anyone. “Choice Based Lettings gives housing applicants an element of choice over where they can live. It can also if run correctly dramatically reduces the time a property is vacant while the allocation process takes place. “I do not accept that there are large numbers of people frivolously refusing appropriate offers of accommodation.  Minister Murphy needs to scrap this latest proposal. “In my opinion he would be better using his time to increase the flow of housing, introducing an affordable housing scheme, putting a price cap on development land, securing rental certainty and giving more people an opportunity to access a home.”