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Rent supplement levels 'insulting' to recipients

Monday, 10th February, 2014 12:21pm

Rent supplement levels 'insulting' to recipients

Sinn Féin spokesperson in Meath East, Darren O'Rourke, has accused the Department of Social Protection of being in denial about Rent Supplement thresholds in the south of County Meath.

The Ashbourne area local election candidate made the statement after he received correspondence from the Department indicating that the fact that 1,900 people in the county are in receipt of Rent Supplement showed that accommodation is available at the threshold rate.

He said: "I have been raising the issue of the discrepancy between Rent Supplement thresholds and the actual cost of rent in the Ashbourne/Ratoath area for some months now, calling for the Minister to intervene to alter the thresholds to reflect the rental prices here. 

"This latest correspondence from the Department of Social Protection confirms there are no plans to revise the existing limits, on the basis that the distorted deduction that because residents in Co. Meath avail of the scheme they must be able to find property at the threshold rate.

"This statement, in the context of the situation in the Ashbourne/Ratoath area is nonsense. Properties for rent at close to the Rent Supplement may be available in other parts of Co. Meath, but they most certainly are not available in the Ashbourne/Ratoath area.  The overwhelming majority of those in receipt of Rent Supplement in this area have come to an arrangement with their landlord to make up the shortfall, if they are lucky enough to be in a position to do so. To suggest otherwise is to be ignorant or in denial.

"Either way, it is insulting to those people who are living with the financial and personal consequences of this unfair policy."

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