Residents of the Altananam and Broombeg estates in Ballycastle held a protest at the offices of the Housing Executive in the town. The protest was designed to highlight the unfair allocation of houses which one resident described as “immoral and unjust”. It took place on Thursday morning at 9:30am outside the Executive’s premises on the Coleraine Road.
“It is important that the local community have an opportunity to have their voices heard and I would commend residents for turning out inlarge numbers at such short notice.“While I would commend the work of the Executive locally, a professional organisation who has interacted well with local communities, I feel questions are being asked around the effectiveness and the responsibilities of the organisation in implementing its legal obligations at senior level.“Regional management over-ruled a recent decision taken at local level in the Housing Executive to allocate a house to a young gentleman in the town and has instead allocated it to someone with a long track record of drug convictions, theft and anti-social behaviour. It is only one example of many incidents surrounding allocation.“The concern for those who worked over the last ten years to address problems in areas like Altananam is obvious. While everyone should enjoy the basic rights to accommodation they cannot be used to undermine the rights of those who want to live in peace.“The Executive needs to ask itself if the process by which its governing body oversees that the organisation is effectively run, is fit for purpose. I think that many independent observers would say that the governance of the organisation needs to be re-evaluated. There can be no hiding the fact that the points system that is used to allocate social housing is both antiquated and open to abuse”.