A meeting of Kerry County Council has heard serious concerns that families and other tenants are being evicted by landlords who think it will be more profitable to let properties to Ukrainian refugees.
Fianna Fáil Councillor John Francis Flynn told the meeting that the number of people and families who have been given notice to quit in the county is “out of control”, the Kerryman reports.
Councillor Flynn said he was receiving phone calls daily from people in this situation.
He told the Council meeting that he had landlords “asking me how much it’s worth to them to house Ukrainians”, and that “there’s this expectation that it’s going to be worth massive money.”
“The worry I have is that landlords know that in a couple of months’ time, hotels [currently housing refugees] will want their rooms back. That’s what they’re getting ready for, in my view,” he said.
“The message needs to go out from Kerry County Council that our number-one priority is to protect Irish families first and make sure they’re not evicted,” he said. “I’m calling on the council to write to the Housing Minister for the amount of time on notices to quit to be extended so they [landlords] won’t be able to evict Irish people to house Ukrainians”.
Cllr Flynn expressed his concern over the accommodation that would be available to those served notices, particularly families.
“Our homeless shelters are not suitable for families,” he said.
Other councillors also raised similar concerns. Fine Gael Councillor Mike Kennelly said he knew of one 85-year-old tenant who has received a notice to quit his home.
The Cllr Kennelly said the 85-year-old woman had been told that the notice will take effect in October. “There is no housing for people who present with notices to quit,” he claimed. “There’s no house in Listowel for renting, leasing, nothing.”
Independent Councillor Niall O’Callaghan told the Council meeting that one young man who has worked all his life in Killarney has been “couch surfing” in recent weeks as he was served notice and he can’t source new housing.
“He went back to his old landlord, asked him can they come back…the landlord had committed the house to Ukrainian people,” Cllr O’Callaghan said.
He asked: “Have we facilities for our own homeless that will present over the next couple of weeks…Is couch-surfing his only option?”
Responding to the concerns expressed, Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell said the council will do its best to provide support to everyone coming into Kerry.