Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has called on Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to address concerns that she has with the current low income threshold for social housing in Carlow.

Carlow currently has one of the lowest income thresholds in the entire country. The maximum net income for two adults with one child is €26,875 and €27,500 for two adults with more than one child. This compares to a limit of €38,000 in Kildare for two adults with one child and €39,000 for two adults with more than one child.

Senator Murnane O’Connor said, “There is a difference of approximately €11,000 in the income threshold between Kildare and Carlow. The difference between Carlow and Kilkenny is €6,500. This is inexcusable and is putting huge pressure on families in Carlow.

“The Government is well aware that, unless a person is on a local authority waiting list, he or she will not get rent allowance or housing assistance payment. It’s extraordinary that in the midst of a housing crisis the Government is denying many families who are under intense financial pressure from accessing rent allowance and the housing assistance payment. The Government needs to ensure that the income threshold in Carlow is increased to bring it in line with neighbouring counties.

“I have recently dealt with a family who were bringing home between €350 and €400 per week. This entitled the family to access the family income supplement. When people qualify for the family income supplement it means that they are not earning enough and therefore need assistance in meeting their housing needs. However they were denied this support as they did not qualify to be registered on the Carlow County Council housing waiting list as they were earning over the income threshold.

“It’s unacceptable that people who are trying to work and make ends meet, and who qualify for family income supplement, are being told that they do not qualify for the housing waiting list. The policy is clearly mismatched and corrective action is needed.”