A protest against evictions took place outside Dublin City Council offices today calling for an extension to the eviction ban in the midst of a housing crisis.
enants living across 35 apartments in Tathony House in Dublin 8 were some of the residents protesting today and were served with eviction notices in October as the landlord intends to sell the building.
In their eviction notices, seen by the Irish Independent, the tenants have until June 2 to leave the property.
Dozens gathered on the steps outside council buildings chanting “homes for need, not for greed”, as tenants fear they will not be able to find affordable accommodation.
Fr Peter McVerry, who attended today’s protest, said the eviction ban should be extended “until we can get to grips with the homeless crisis”.
“Without that ban, trying to house people is like trying to empty the bath water with the taps still on,” he said.
“The most effective way of doing that is to ban evictions from the private sector.”
Fr McVerry said the eviction ban is an “inconvenience” for landlords who wish to sell “but the alternative is putting whole families and children into homelessness”.
“There is no comparison between the inconvenience to a landlord and the trauma that homelessness causes in the lives of people who became homeless and children.”
Fr McVerry acknowledged that there are cases of landlords in “extreme distress” and precautions should be taken to allow exemptions to an eviction ban in these cases.
Fr McVerry added that the recent anti-refugee protests are a “disgrace” inciting “hatred and division in our society”.
“We do not want anyone to be evicted from their home, whether they are refugees or anybody else,” he said.
Meanwhile, James O’Toole has lived in his apartment in Tathony House for 13 years and is fighting to stay.
“There are 35 apartments in the building… about 31 or 32 families living in the building,” he said.
“There is a hospital worker downstairs and she works in St James Hospital. She has a four-year-old child. Another family lives across the corridor from me and they have three children.
“These are people with families, people who work in this city and who don’t know what their fate is going to be.
“Some of us are going to face homelessness on June 2 when we are evicted from Tathony House.”
The tenants are calling for Dublin City Council to step in and purchase the property or designate funds for an approved housing body to purchase the property.
“During the eviction ban homeless figures have increased and have reached record heights and it shows that the government isn’t doing enough,” said Mr O’Toole.
“The government will often say that you can’t build houses overnight, and maybe that’s true, but they could extend the eviction ban overnight,” he said.
Madeleine Johansson, a resident of Tathony House said residents are “frustrated” and afraid they won’t find homes before they are evicted.
“We are very concerned that we won’t be able to find anywhere to live,” she said.
“We had a meeting with Dublin City Council and they haven’t made any commitments,” she said.
She called the eviction an “absolute disgrace… no one should be without a roof over their head”.
“It’s not a housing crisis anymore, it’s a housing emergency. Homeless figures keep going up, rents keep going up and evictions keep going up. We are saying that this is not good enough.”
“There is frustration in general over the housing crisis… We just feel that the council should do more.
“Most people are still here because they can’t find anywhere else to go. People can’t find anywhere so they are staying where they are,” she said.
The residents are contesting the eviction with the Residential Tenancies Board and are waiting for a hearing date to dispute the eviction notice.
Meanwhile, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who attended today’s protest said “we are facing an avalanche of evictions into homelessness,” when the eviction ban ends.
“The main reason for people ending up in emergency accommodation is because they are evicted when they have done nothing wrong.
“It is absolutely disgusting. The trauma, the despair, the fear that people are put through being driven into homeless accommodation is absolutely disgusting.
“That is something that will scar children, scar families.
“The government has estimated that prior to the introduction of this legislation that between 2000-3000 families and individuals would face eviction,” he added.
The Irish Independent has made attempts to contact the landlord for Tathony House.
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