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Councillor Ian Lynch complained of staffing shortages in Kilrush council office. Photograph by John Kelly.

Kilrush housing motion off the agenda

INDEPENDENT Kilrush councillor Ian Lynch has expressed his “dismay” that a motion he had forwarded for debate at next Monday’s county council meeting has been rejected and will not be on the agenda.

Clare County Council has taken legal advice from county solicitor John Shaw, who deemed the motion invalid.

Veteran Lissycasey councillor, PJ Kelly, has told The Clare Champion that the rejection of the motion is the first time this has happened in his 42 years on the council.

The motion reads: “This county council directs the chief executive of Clare County Council, under section 139 of the Local Government Act 2001, not to proceed with the proposal to purchase houses at Beal an Inbhir, Shanakyle, Kilrush”.

The housing estate in question is located on the Shanakyle Road in Kilrush, where Clare County Council has expressed an interest in purchasing approximately a dozen of the houses. Five of the houses are currently being purchased by the council.

“I am not opposed to the purchasing of social housing anywhere. I understand that the council is now in a position to buy houses and is not in a position to build them. The questions relate to how the decision was arrived at to buy the number of houses suggested,” Councillor Lynch explained.

He maintains that a number of questions need to be publicly asked in relation to the issue in Kilrush.

“I’m dismayed that the motion will not be on the agenda for the meeting. There are an awful lot of questions to be asked and I feel that I have the democratic right, as a public representative, to ask these questions of the executive. That democratic right has been taken from me. I feel that I was obliged to get some answers from the executive in a public forum. I feel now that this opportunity has been taken from me,” Councillor Lynch stated.

“All I want is an opportunity to ask the executive their version of events, following questions that have been put to me by the people who have voted for me and who I represent. But the exclusion of this motion has denied me the right, as a public representative, to ask these questions. It would be unfair of me to comment on the full details behind the motion without Clare County Council having the opportunity to respond. However, I will be seeking an immediate meeting with chief executive officer, Tom Coughlan, to address the issues pertaining to my motion,” he added.

In a statement , Clare County Council said the agenda for the meeting was not finalised.

“The agenda for the council meeting is, at present, being finalised and will, in accordance with normal practice, issue later this evening,” the statement read.

With regard to housing demand, the council said it has to explore opportunities to purchase available houses.

“The council has a seriously high level of housing demand in the county and this is the case in relation to Kilrush. We are keenly conscious of the impact the lack of housing has for those families and individuals who, for whatever reason, are unable to provide housing for themselves,” the council statement read.

“The housing department has been working strenuously to improve the availability of housing accommodation for those in need. As part of the overall programme, the elected members of the West Clare Municipal District have recently been advised of the council’s intention to purchase five dwelling units at Beal an Inbhir, Kilrush. Contracts for this purchase are at present being finalised, between the legal representatives for both parties. The availability of this accommodation will provide homes for five families in need of accommodation in Kilrush,” the statement outlined.

Councillor Lynch insists his motion should not have been rejected.

“Other motions would sometimes be deemed invalid during a meeting. For example, it might emerge that certain roadworks need to be carried out or mandated by the National Roads Authority and not Clare County Council, yet the motion would be presented to the meeting. A discussion and a debate would be held,” he pointed out.

Peter O’Connell

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