Town Clerk Ger Walsh says he’s acutely aware of the request for special needs housing by a Clonmel couple, one of whom is an amputee.
“The Borough Council isn’t ignoring their concerns and will continue to make a case to the Department of the Environment to find and fund housing that’s suitable to their needs”, he said.
If a vacant house becomes available from the Council’s own housing stock in the short-term the Council might be able to adapt it to their needs, Mr. Walsh added.
Tony Warren and his partner Maura Fennessy (nee White) live with Maura’s 17 year-old son Jake and 16 year-old daughter Charlotte in a semi-detached, two-storey house at Glen Oaks Walk in Glenconnor.
Although the house has a stairlift and an ensuite bedroom, the couple say the design of the house means that it’s unsuitable for someone with special needs, as it has no landing or hallway.
“It’s also unsafe for someone who’s wheelchair-bound. If there was a fire we wouldn’t be able to get Maura out of the house”, said Mr. Warren.
He said the position of the stairlift meant it was dangerous for his partner to manoeuvre herself onto the stairs.
Maura Fennessy has had three amputations on the same leg, her problems having stemmed from a fall. She is also asthmatic and suffers from other conditions.
They are renting the house in Glen Oaks Walk for the past year because they say they cannot afford to buy a house of their own. Maura Fennessy is on a disability allowance while Tony Warren, as her carer, is paid a carer’s allowance.
The possibility of renting another house, a bungalow, in Willow Park was mentioned some time ago but they’ve recently learned that no funding is available to adapt the house.
“The situation is a disgrace, it affects not just Maura but everybody who’s wheelchair-bound”, said Mr. Warren. “We have to stay put at the moment because there’s no place else to go”.
He said they had been offered a house in Boherduff but it was in such a poor condition that “you wouldn’t put a dog in there”.
However Town Clerk Ger Walsh said that all of the Council’s houses were let to an adequate standard.
The couple had been approved for a transfer on medical grounds, subject to funding becoming available for another house.
No capital funding was available from the Department of the Environment to acquire new houses on the open market but the Council would continue to examine all the options with a view to meeting the couple’s needs, the Town Clerk added.