Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle calls for higher threshold for council housing list

Pringle calls for higher threshold for council housing list

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called for the income threshold to qualify for the Donegal County Council housing list to be raised urgently, saying arbitrary limits do not take individual circumstances into account.

Deputy Pringle said: “Housing is a right. Housing is a public good and the sooner we have a Government who implements policy along those lines the better. Why can discretion not be applied?”

Earlier this year, Deputy Pringle brought a bill to the Dáil that calls for a referendum to see economic, social and cultural rights – including the right to housing – enshrined in the Constitution. A second reading of his 37th Amendment of The Constitution (Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) Bill 2018 was delayed by Government for 18 months but is to return to the Dáil next year.

Addressing the Minister for Housing in the Dáil this week, Deputy Pringle said the income threshold to qualify for entry on to the council housing list is €25,000.

He said: “That threshold is for a single applicant or a couple; for applicants with children there is a small increase. It is simply far too low. What can be done to raise this threshold urgently? Especially given that Donegal County Council has finally received an increase in funding allocation for housing. It is not enough and it is too little too late, but small increases are welcome.”

In response, Minister Darragh O’Brien said a Government review of the limits is expected this year but did not commit to the limits being increased.

Deputy Pringle said: “I had to sit and tell a mother last week with three children that she couldn’t get on the housing list because her income was far too much at 26,000 euro a year. It’s ridiculous.”

The deputy said: “You say that we’re going to see changes by the end of the year, fair enough. I hope the changes are going to be real changes, minister.”

Speaking later, Deputy Pringle said that according to figures he received in response to a parliamentary question, about double the number of people on the social housing waiting list are in receipt of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), “meaning that their social housing needs are supposedly met.

“HAP is not a long-term secure option for tenants. It is private, market-led and unsuitable for use in lesser populated areas such as Donegal,” Deputy Pringle said.

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