Donnelly welcomes Burton’s commitment to review rent supplement levels in Greystones, Kilcoole, Delgany and Newtownmountkennedy

The Independent TD for Wicklow and East Carlow, Stephen Donnelly TD, has welcomed the agreement of the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, to review the levels of rent supplement paid for the Wicklow towns of Greystones, Kilcoole, Delgany and Newtownmountkennedy.

Stephen Donnelly TD said: “It is significant that, on foot of a parliamentary question by my office,  Minister Burton has agreed to review the levels paid for rent supplement in these Wicklow towns.

“When rent supplement levels were reduced, at the beginning of the year, Wicklow suffered some of the largest reductions in the country. This was particularly difficult for tenants in Bray and the other towns in the north of the county, because rents in these towns are comparable to Dublin rents.

“The Minister then announced that Bray would be considered separately from the rest of the county for the purpose of assessing the appropriate maximum rent supplement. I alerted the Minister to the fact that this was unfair on those renting in Greystones, Kilcoole, Delgany and Newtownmountkennedy, where rents are comparable to Bray, and she has now agreed to review rents in those towns also.

“The Minister also confirmed that tenants whose landlords refuse to reduce their rent to meet the new rent supplement levels will have a grace period of up to thirteen weeks at the higher rate of rent supplement in which to find new accommodation.

“However, there are significant problems with the system as it stands, including excessive delays for those who are applying for rent supplement or trying to communicate with the deciding officers.

“One retired woman we have spoken to is being forced to move from her home in Greystones because there is no suitable accommodation available for her there at the reduced rent supplement level. This is despite the fact that her daughter has offered to pay the difference in rent. It seems extraordinary that the State would force a pensioner to leave her home, in order to comply with bureaucratic rules, when there is a more humane solution available that is cost-neutral.”