Cllr Joanna Byrne opposes giving The Chief Executive the power to evict council tenants

joanna-byrne-1At October’s monthly Local authority council meeting, Cllr Joanna Byrne – Chairperson of Louth’s Strategic Policy Committee, opposed a motion put to the councillors worded:

“That this council supports a change in legislation which would grant the Chief Executive the power to evict council tenants (who are known to be causing frequent and extreme anti-social behaviour against their neighbours) on the word of a Garda Superintendent.”

Cllr Byrne pointed out that “there is a current Anti-Social Behaviour strategy with procedures of warnings before legal action to evict a tenant, this policy was drafted by the Housing SPC and adopted by the council. We also have a full time ASB Investigation officer within the county, both put in place to deal with the issues outlined in this motion.”

Commenting Cllr Byrne said:

“Whilst I recognise ASB is a contentious issue raised with Councillors on a daily basis, and it is an undeserved endurance for neighbouring tenants, I do not believe that this power should be given to any one person be it our Chief Executive or any other Chief Executive on other councils. These situations are the reason we have policies and procedures in place.”

Cllr Byrne said “Should the SPC need to review certain elements of this policy then that is what we will do. But it does not take away from the fact no God-like power with such severe consequences on families, which could include children, be bestowed on any one individual. We need a multi-agency approach with LCC, An Garda Síochana and other housing bodies all working together to tackle these issues. As pointed out by our Director of Services for Housing today there are currently only 172 ASB complaints on the system from a housing stock of 3975 in the county. 60 of these were unfounded complaints with no further action required so the need for a change in legislation in my opinion, at this given time, is unwarranted. We are there to protect the rights of all our constituents and work with and guide them to comply with Housing policies in place. Evictions are life changing decisions that will not only affect said culprits, but also their partners and children in most cases and should be only considered as an extreme last resort!”