New rent system to come online as rent arrears probe nears conclusion

A new, more robust digitised system of collecting rents is to be implemented in the wake of the rent arrears investigation.

A member of staff in Dundalk Town Council remains suspended as investigations continue into irregularities in how council rents in a number of houses were collected.

An informal briefing of councillors was held in camera on Monday after plans to hold a formal meeting on Tuesday were shelved.

The meeting was chaired b y departing county manager Philomena Poole, and was called after a number of councillors had expressed their disappointment that they were only notified of the investigation in the middle of the night, just hours before the investigation was made public.

The councillors were told that they the reason for this lack of communication was out of a desire to protect ‘due process’ in the investigation and to insure that the rights of any person under investigation were not compromised in any way.

During the meeting councillors were told that the alleaged matter only affects a small number of tenants and that suggestions that it was a more widespread phenomenon in the media were inaccurate.

According to one source at the meeting,the councillors were told that media reports of the sums of money involved were also inaccurate, and that the alleged irregularities accounted for significantly smaller amounts.

The county manager also outlined how future system will be significantly more robust and will be operated out of a computerised hub based in Drogheda.

The current system was thought to have been relatively robust, but the alleged rent irregularities have undermined confidence in the current system.

Under that system these irregularities were not picked up for a period of nearly five years and even then only after a tenant queried their balance statement. The investigation is expected to be concluded shortly.


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