‘Impossible to replace Housing Executive’ - Colr.

Councillor Gary Donnelly

Councillor Gary Donnelly

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A Derry councillor has warned that everyone must stand firm against those with an agenda to dismantle the Housing Executive.

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly was speaking as he tabled the second of two motions centred on the proposed transferring of Derry Housing Executive homes to Housing Associations.

Protesters gathered outside the Guildhall on Thursday afternoon.

Protesters gathered outside the Guildhall on Thursday afternoon.

Outside the meeting, local residents, backed by housing rights campaigners, spoke about their anxieties over the potential transfer. One woman questioned whether it was right morally to try to shift people from a social landlord they were content with, while another said: “With the Housing Executive you can phone them in the morning and they will be out that evening or apologise if they can’t. They are far, far better to deal with.”

At the meeting, Colr. Donnelly proposed that the Council call on the Department of Social Development “to stop the sale of the the Housing Executive homes in the Bogside and other areas to Housing Associations” and oppose “the dismantling and privatisation of the HE by stealth.”

Colr. Donnelly claimed the threat to the HE came 50 years after it was set up to address discrimination and unfairness in the allocation of homes. “Half a century later we see the Orange State trying to take its revenge,” he said. “This attack on the Housing Executive and once dismantled it will be impossible to replace.”

Earlier SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack also had a motion passed on the issue.