Riverview residents protesting against their eviction on Saturday, February 10, at the entrance to the Kilbeggan apartment complex.

Council ‘supportive’ of purchasing homes for evicted tenants at Kilbeggan

Westmeath County Council has said it is “supportive” of purchasing homes at Riverview in Kilbeggan where some 30 residents received eviction notices in January.

It comes as the development’s owner, the Remcoll Group, announced its intention to sell all 76 units in the apartment complex.

Tenants facing eviction so far are those in receipt of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), through the local authorities in Offaly and Westmeath, who have been given until July to vacate their properties.

Other residents, who are mostly on long-term social housing leases or supported through approved housing bodies, have been left unsure as to whether their tenancy is secure in the event of a sale.

In a statement released last week, Westmeath County Council said it has open to supporting an acquisition of part of the complex.

“The Council has advised the owners of Riverview that it would be supportive of the acquisition of part of the complex by an Approved Housing Body (AHB),” they said.

“Subsequently, the Council was approached by an AHB and support for an acquisition was confirmed.

“Westmeath County Council will be liaising with qualifying households over the coming months, to provide support to find alternative accommodation where required and will liaise with any AHBs that have expressed an interest in acquiring the units.”

Cathaoirleach Liam McDaniel, a local to Kilbeggan, said the council intends to ensure “the best possible outcome” for those living at Riverview.

“That’s what we’ve been looking at all along,” he said.

“We have asked the council to engage with the sellers to look at the possibility of either purchasing or supporting a purchase of some of the tenancies that are held on lease.

“They are exploring the option of supporting an approved housing body in purchasing homes.”

Cllr McDaniel said there are many false rumours in circulation regarding the apartment complex.

“You can hear people saying this and saying that, but there is no evidence to back up a lot of what people are saying,” he said.

“People are saying a sale has fallen through but, from my information, it hasn’t.

“My information is discussions are ongoing with the council and the seller.”

Residents of the Riverview apartment complex are currently engaging with homeless prevention charity Threshold to see what protections are available to them.

They also held a first protest outside the complex on Saturday, February 10, and plan on holding further protests every Saturday from here on until their position at Riverview is secure.