2 November 2000 Edition

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Corporation tenants face eviction

The housing crisis is not just limited to house buyers or even to those who suffer in the private rented sector. The crisis, which arises because of the absence of will on the part of the government to address the stranglehold that a few development companies have on development land, or to impose strictures on landlords to ensure reasonable rent and security of tenure, also affects tenants in the Corporation sector.

Michael Devereux is one of them. Michael was born at 34 Stanaway Avenue in Upper Crumlin, which was the family home. When his parents got old and sick, he came back to live in the house to care for them. Over the 50 years, his family has paid for the house many times over, and yet, when his parents died, the Corporation refused to assign him the tenancy or to sell him the house. Instead he has been served with an eviction notice, with effect from last Tuesday.

``There are many other cases very similar to Michael's. You'd wonder who runs the council, that they can treat people with such inhumanity. The officials refuse to deal with the situation. What is the point of making one person homeless in order to house another?

``There are many other people in the same situation,'' says Aengus Ó Snodaigh, a Sinn Féin activist in the South Inner City who is tipped to win a seat in the next Dáil elections. ``There is Bernie Monkes, who lives in Bluebell. She did up the flat to something beautiful. She spent much money to decorate it, with new floors, and so on, only to be told that the tenancy would not be passed on to her.

Or take the case of Gillian Hennessy in Oliver Bond flats, also in Ó Snodaigh's area. Her family has lived in Oliver Bond since the time they were built. She returned to look after her uncle who needed full time care if he was to be released from hospital. He was released and died a week later. She applied for the tenancy, with the full support of the tenants' committee, and it was refused. She and her seven-year-old daughter face eviction.

``What have these tenants done,'' Aengus asks, ``that they should be punished by being made homeless? Nothing at all.''

The housing crisis is a tragedy for a large number of ordinary people who have been betrayed by councillors and the corporation management. ``Greedily in the last decade the Corporation sold off its housing. The councillors failed to confront the developers who are sitting on development land, with the result that the lists of homeless have grown out of all proportion. People now must wait for years in hostels for a place to live with their family. Others just walk the streets, sleep `rough' in the cold and the wet.

``The politicians have allowed this to happen. They have betrayed the people who paid rent down through the years.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1