Council staff abused over housing funding
staff and officials at Wexford County Council are being subjected to daily abuse by people angry that they are unable to allocate them local authority homes following the announcement of €25 million in government funding for the county's housing programme.
Gardai were called to the County Hall on Friday after an incident threatened to get out of hand and appeals for calm by council staff went unheeded.
Appealing to people to stop abusing staff, Cllr. Fergie Kehoe said he feared it was only a matter of time before the verbal abuse turned into a physical attack.
He said that while he could understand people's frustration at being on the waiting list - which currently has almost 5,000 names on it - there was absolutely no excuse for the tirades of foul-mouthed abuse being directed at staff and officials, who were doing their best to help.
'Some people on the waiting list seem to think that because the money has been allocated they should immediately be given a council house, but firstly we don't yet know where in the county it is going to be spent and secondly, it will take three years for the 677 housing units to be built,' he said.
'I have the deepest sympathy for those on the waiting list, but in fairness to staff they shouldn't have to put up with this kind of abuse.. some of them are very upset with being sworn at like this.
'If it keeps going this way, it is only a matter of time before someone is physically abused, At the moment it's nasty to the extent people are being sworn at and told they can't do their jobs.'
Cllr. Kehoe appealed to people to make sure their details on the housing list were up to date so that staff could deal with their queries.
'A lot of people who are applying for housing are not giving the proper details which adds to the time they will have to wait.. no one is guaranteed a house unless they meet the criteria, it may take some time, but eventually those who do, will be housed,' he said.