Deputy Ó Fearghaíl has raised this matter concerning overholders in the Curragh Camp with me before.
Under Defence Forces regulations, personnel are obliged to vacate married quarters within a specified period of being discharged from the Permanent Defence Force. The term overholder is used to describe former members of the Defence Forces and their families who have refused to leave military married quarters within 21 days of retiring or resigning from military service. Currently, there are 28 overholders remaining at the Curragh Camp which represents a small number of those who over the years occupied married quarters but who vacated the properties on retirement or resignation from the Defence Forces, as they are required to do. Some ten of the present group of overholders do not pay charges in respect of their use of the property including for the use of electricity. As a result of the Department’s actions since January 2013, 12 of the properties which were being overheld in the area of the Curragh Camp have been returned by the occupants.
The situation of overholders continuing to occupy married quarters is no longer sustainable and measures to resolve this continue to be progressed. My Department is, therefore, in accordance with normal procedures, seeking vacant possession of married quarters which are being overheld and will continue to do so until the overholding issue is resolved.
Of the remaining overholding cases at the camp, the Department is aware a small number of occupants may be particularly vulnerable due to their personal circumstances. In light of this, the Department has been examining what assistance it might provide to bring about a resolution to their status as overholders.
It is important to remember, however, that the Department of Defence does not have a role in the provision of housing accommodation for the public. It cannot provide housing for people who have no entitlement to such from the public purse and who may well have the means to supply housing for themselves.