Widow on housing waiting list ‘for 27 years’ has never been offered a council home

Fiona O’Loughlin (51) says her original housing application was in May 1995
Widow on housing waiting list ‘for 27 years’ has never been offered a council home

David Raleigh

A recently widowed mother-of-one who claims she is an approved applicant on Limerick City and County Council’s housing waiting list for the past 27 years has said she is still waiting for the local authority to provide her with a home.

Fiona O’Loughlin (51) showed a letter she received from Limerick City and County Council in 2020, stating she has been “an approved applicant” on the council’s housing waiting list since February 2005, however Ms O’Loughlin said her original application was in May 1995.

The letter, signed by a representative of the council’s housing support services, stated Ms O’Loughlin would be “considered along with all qualified applicants for any suitable vacancies that may arise in her area of choice of Dublin Road and Ballysimon”.

Ms O’Loughlin, who is a “chronic asthmatic” and has been diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), has been living with her 23-year-old daughter in a three-bedroom house through the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

She said her partner of 15 years died of stomach cancer seven weeks ago and that their current home is “damp” and “cold” and is also no longer suitable for her and her daughter.

I’m on the housing list since 1995, I don't know why they won't assist me

Ms O’Loughlin said: “I’m on the housing waiting list 27 years in May, I applied for one of the houses on Mulgrave Street over a year ago and the council never contacted me about it, and there’s people I know who are on the waiting list only one or two years and they have all got new houses.

“I’m on the housing list since 1995, I don't know why they won't assist me, I just don’t know. I can only afford the rent on the place we are staying through RAS.

“The rain comes in the back porch and all the wall out there is falling away from all the dampness.

“I had an interview with the council ten weeks ago and they called up to see the house, but my partner went into hospital on the same day but he died three weeks later on the 10th of December.

“It was cancer, he didn't know he had it as he was being treated for a peptic ulcer and acid reflux. He was just 62 and we were together 15 years.

“It is a big loss for me, and not being able to get a council house after all these years, on top of it all, I feel like I’m in limbo, I’m sick of it.

“I rang the council again and they can’t give me an answer; myself and my partner and my daughter we were all previously approved for housing and we were all Garda vetted, so I just don't know.”

Council spokesman

A spokesman for Limerick City Council stated: “Limerick City and County Council does not comment on cases relating to a person as it doesn’t believe that it right to discuss an individual’s personal situation in such a public forum.

“The council’s customer services department is open for tenants or customers to discuss their situations or raise their issues. It is important that the council is informed when a person’s circumstances change.

“Customer services is open in Merchant’s Quay and Dooradoyle 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted on 061 556000, email customerservices@limerick.ie or via My Limerick on Limerick.ie”.

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