Louth Cllr Kevin Meenan reflects on how health scare changed his perspective on life
Local Sinn Féin Cllr Kevin Meenan has raised concerns about the state of some council houses in Dundalk, saying many need urgent repairs while some should be condemned.
Cllr Meenan told the Democrat that many houses in the Muirheavnamor area, in particular, are in urgent need of repairs, with issues like windows being forced shut or open, and gaps under doors at the forefront.
The Democrat spoke with Ann Marie Harmon, who lives in Aghameen Park, who said that she has multiple windows in her house where the window latches don’t work and keep the window either forced shut or unable to open.
“They don’t open. The lock is gone,” said Ms Harmon, who showed the Democrat window latches that didn’t open in her sitting room, while the window latches upstairs in the bedroom were unable to be closed.
Due to this, alongside a gap between the back door and floor, it’s difficult for Ms Harmon to keep the house properly heated.
She says she is “spending a fortune” on keeping the house heated, with both bags of coal and gas having to be bought regularly.
Cllr Meenan said that issues like this are also contributing to climate change, as residents spend more money on fuel to keep their houses heated.
Cllr Meenan said that while there is an issue with a lack of repairs for local authority housing, he said that he doesn’t blame Louth County Council, saying that there is a lack of investment from central government into local authorities to carry out repair and maintenance work.
He says that state intervention is needed to improve the quality of public housing across the entire country.
“I think it’s a state intervention and it’s going to cost millions, if not billions to do that,” said Cllr Meenan.
“I think it’s due to years and years of neglect, no planned maintenance.”
“There’s huge health and safety concerns here, with the conditions they’re living in, people with health conditions living in houses that should have been condemned.”
“If it’s not picked up now, it’s going to cost more. With climate change as well coming in, its a major factor because we have people here who are burning coal and having a huge carbon footprint.”
One of Cllr Meenan’s major concerns is the age of many of the properties in the area, with a recent Local Government Information Unit report showing that 60% of all public housing is between 20 and 100 years old.
40% of the housing is up to 20 years old, with 2% of public housing being over 100 years old.
The biggest age block of public housing is between 20 and 40 years old, with 29% of all properties being in that age bracket.
According to the most recent LCC Monthly Management Report, there were 298 maintenance requests received by LCC in August, with 205 requests completed.
In 2021 so far, there have been 2631 maintenance requests received by LCC, with 1968 completed so far.
The Democrat reached out to Louth County Council for comment, but none was received at the time of publication.
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