Blind man says he won’t pay €25 a week council rent on principal

Blind man says he won’t pay €25 a week council rent on principal
Local campaigner and former EU election candidate Mark Fitzsimons says that he is refusing to pay his €25 a week council house rent until the rental department becomes fully transparent.

Local campaigner and former EU election candidate Mark Fitzsimons says that he is refusing to pay his €25 a week council house rent until the rental department becomes fully transparent.

Mark Fitzsimons, who is blind and currently living in a council house on the Castletown Road, says he is making the stance following a statement made by Director of Services, Frank Pentony, in which he called for tenants that aren’t paying their rent to be evicted.

Mr Fitzsimons, the former Secretary of the Louth Environmental Group, has been told that he owes over €800 in arrears to the council, which he is contesting.

It is the council’s policy to refuse to service or carry out repairs on council houses in which the tenants have not paid their rent.

Mr Fitzsimons says that the Dundalk rent payers are already effectively under writing hundreds of thousands of interest on ill conceived land deals, and says that he will instead be depositing his money in a post office account.

“The council bought a 10 acre site for €6.2 million on the Lower Point Road for the purpose of social housing.

“Not only was this land then not developed, but we continue to service the debt.

“The first 240 people paying their €25, goes towards servicing that debt.”

Mr Fitzsimons says he wants issues surrounding this development land addressed before he is willing to pay his €25 a week.

“I will be paying my rent into a post office account which I am setting up at the moment.

“I wil be putting €25 in it, which I am going to withold from the council until these issues are addressed.

“I would ask that other people do the same as me.”

The council have told Mark that they will no longer make any repairs to his Castletown Road premises, where he has been living for nine years, having originally come from Navan.

The housing report shows that over €2 million is owed to the County Council. The number of rent accounts in arrears at the end of July was 1,876.

The total owed to the Council is €2,018,359.

Mr Pentony said that the council has not evicted anybody in 20 years.

Mark Fitzsimons launched a European Election campaign bid on the back of legalising cannabis.

He is currently facing charges for posessing cannabis.

Mr Fitzsimons says he believes that the drug should be legalised so it can be used for medicinal purposes, such as for the treatment of glaucoma, which he himself suffers from. He made national headlines earlier in the year for his stance on the drug.