Cllr Martin Harley who has expressed anger at antisocial behaviour in Ballybofey
'Scum' tenants in Ballybofey were turning their neighbour's life into a nightmare with their antisocial behaviour, a local councillor has claimed.
Cllr Martin Harley outlined a catalogue of incidents at Tuesday's Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District meeting stating the situation was "totally unacceptable".
The matter arose during a series of reports, some dealing with social housing and the council's efforts to accommodate as many people as possible.
The meeting heard it was actively pursuing the acquisition of lands suitable for housing purposes where there was currently no social housing solution available. It also revealed that there were 277 on the social housing waiting list while 20 of these had been approved for a transfer. The number of units in their social housing stock amounted to 914.
During Tuesday's debate Cllr Harley said he knew the council had been trying to house people to the best of their ability and everyone was entitled to a house but when these people moved about from one place to another and kept causing trouble, this made the council's job very difficult.
"We had an incident last week involving a woman who has been in her house 11 years. She is a good tenant who pays her rent up to date and is trying to live her life as best she can with her family.
"She is suffering because of a family we moved in beside her who are causing trouble. The next thing is she wants to be moved. She can't live beside them because they are damaging her property and breaking her windows. Then we're told it will take at least a year to get these people back out again.
"I think this is totally unacceptable and whether the law has to be changed. I don't know but if it's so frustrating for us as councillors, it must be a nightmare for the tenant who is law abiding.
"These others, and I don't say it lightly, are scum. That's all they are. They do it everywhere they go. I'm very annoyed about it. I know we're supposed to try and house these people but it's just a terrible situation for good tenants to be in and something has to change," he said.
During the same debate another local councillor, Patrick McGowan, referring to a decision the council had made not to develop a block of apartments at Trusk Road, Ballybofey in favour of units for the elderly and disabled.
"Thank God we didn't do it. If you look at apartment blocks now with their anti-social behaviour, this was the wisest decision we ever made. It's hard enough sometimes to deal with anti-social behaviour in one off housing where people have their own front doors and individual gardens so we just need to be careful," he said.
He added they should build such developments to cater for needs, not to import people in.
Area housing manager, Olive Gillespie, said in relation to tenant issues she confirmed some reports had come into the council over the past few days and these were being investigated both by the council and other agencies.
"We will follow down through the process as we have done in the past. The local authority has a responsibility to provide social housing to meet a need but the tenants also have a responsibility to adhere to their tenancy agreement. Certainly, if there are any incidents out there I want them brought to our attention for investigation," she said.
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