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Mother-of-two fears she will be kicked out of council home after partner's death

Clare Malone’s partner passed away in September, but she is unable to stay in the council house.

44225_54_pages_05_23623_588x448 Source: Saoirse McGarrigle/Wexford Echo

A WEXFORD MOTHER has spoken of her fear that she and her two young children will be homeless before Christmas after the death of her partner.

Clare Malone had moved in to her partner Michael Gallagher’s council house to look after him during an illness. In late September he passed away ten days after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia and blood clots in his lungs.

She had informed the council of the situation prior to Michael’s death, and contacted them afterwards to inform them of his passing.

“Nobody got back to me,” Clare told The Anton Savage Show on Today FM, and days later a housing liaison officer knocked on their door telling them the keys should have been handed back straight away.

Clare, who currently has only one functioning lung and is waiting on a transplant, appealed for a grace period to allow them to move out.

“[The house] is not suitable for us long term. I’m only asking for an extra bit of time,” she explained. Clare says she is able to keep up with rent payments, and is hoping to stay in the house until the end of January in order to save up enough money to move on, as well as giving the family time to recover from Michael’s death.

I was told: ‘Sorry honey, rules are rules’.

She was informed by the council that they had two weeks, that could be stretched to four, to vacate the property, but that another house will not be available for another ten years.

“The best they could do was put me in sheltered accommodation, either a refuge or a B&B, and I couldn’t be guaranteed to be in the same place for more than two nights at a time.”

She said this would pose issues as she occasionally requires an oxygen tank to help her breathing.

Clare added that her two children are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father, and she herself is suffering a nervous breakdown.

The Wexford Echo, who first covered Clare’s story, reports that she is currently studying Social Studies, but has not yet been deemed fit to work after her lung operation. No properties are available in the local area that meet rent allowance requirements.

In a statement, Wexford County Council said that while it does not comment on individual cases, officials are “in close contact with Ms Malone and we are keenly aware of and sympathetic to Ms Malone’s particular housing situation and plight”, adding that they are confident a solution can be found quickly.

Wexford County Council will transfer the tenancy of a local authority rented house to the partner or spouse of a deceased tenant, where that individual has been declared to the Council to be an occupant of the property.

“If a local authority house becomes vacant following the death of a tenant, the council will allocate that property to the person or family next on the Housing List and in accordance with the council’s Scheme of Letting priorities.”

Wexford County Council is confident of achieving an immediate and mutually acceptable solution to the unfortunate situation in which Ms. Malone finds herself at this time and we will be in contact with Ms. Malone today in relation to this solution.

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Nicky Ryan

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