Report comes to light of a damp and sub-standard house bought by council

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It has emerged that Dundalk Town Council carried out an inspection into a house owned by a senior housing executive just days before it was purchased which found the house to be damp and pest infested.

The house was owned by senior executive officer Donal Clarke.

The report which was undertaken on the 1 December 2010 showed that there was a “serious” dampness and mildew problem, that the property was not properly ventilated, and that the property did not comply with the rented dwelling regulations.

The property was inspected using a ‘Rented Dwelling Regulations” inspection.

The inspection was undertaken just days before the sale was completed.

The existance of the report raises questions about the information made available to Deloitte who carried out a review of the Social Housing Investment Programme at Dundalk Town Council. This followed revelations in this newspaper about the purchase by the Town Council of houses owned by council staff. The Deloitte review found that there were the proper procedures were not adhered to during the purchase of these houses.

Last week Ms Poole published details of the Deloitte review. Notably, in the review, Deloitte said there was no evidence of inspections having taken place on the houses purchases.

The review says that Management told Deloitte that “it was not considered necessary to document property inspections in circumstances where there had been an inspection by a qualified and experienced technical officer.”

However it has emerged that a Rented Dwelling Regulations inspection was carried out days before the sale was completed.

This inspection was also not provided to the Dundalk Democrat last summer when the paper made its first Freedom of Information request.

The Dundalk Democrat queried Louth County Council as to why the form was not made available to either the Democrat or Deloitte, but did not receive a response before going to print.

Deloitte told the paper that they would be unable to comment on the matters of a client organisation.

Cllr Tomas Sharkey says: “This inspection report is damning. I want a new investigation into the purchase of the house in Tullagee. I want this investigation to be thorough and the findings fully published.

“This house in Tullagee was inspected using a rental form on 1st December 2010. It was damp, lacked insulation, the heating wasn’t working, had no smoke alarms and did not have an inspection report of the electrics by a RECI contractor. There section clearly asks “Does the dwelling comply with the Rented Dwelling Regulations/” and the Council’s own technician answered “NO.”

“The questions I have had from the start remain. I want to know why a Senior Executive Officer recommended the purchase of this house a day after our technician refused to pass it.

“I want to know why the Director of Services made the order to buy this house.”


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