CITIZEN JOURNALISM: 18th October 2006 – Evictions, the vulnerable in Dublin 4 by Michelle Clarke

Wednesday October 18th, 2006

Evictions, the vulnerable in Dublin 4 written by Michelle Clarke

There is a very saying. “Come progress, come poverty”.

During the last census in Ireland, people phoned into the Joe Duffy Liveline show.  They  outlined the wealth and the illusion of the everlasting Tiger but people doing the census forms told Joe Duffy of the poverty they experienced in many houses on their rounds.

Two weeks ago I was walking with my dog on the Canal, off Baggot Street, when I saw a lady in distress sitting on a park bench crying – I stopped to speak to her and listened intently to her story. The lady told me come October 10th at 10.00 p.m. the Sheriff was coming on behalf of the landlord with an order of ejection.

It intrigued me that the word ‘EVICTION’… not being used these Celtic Tiger days. I took some particulars from the lady and made no promises. Two days later I met a barrister friend of mine. He asked me how long she lived in her flat. I said 27 years. He replied she has rights under the 1980 Act section 17.

I made some more inquiries. The lady has mental health problems and phobias e.g. she will not open her post. She has no electricity for 5 years in the heartland of Georgian Dublin 4.

I ask tonight where are the Government agencies to support this lady who is vulnerable in relation to mental health. Who protects the Vulnerable?

On a Wednesday evening I phoned 4 government agencies. In this I include Threshold, Social Services, Citizen Rights Bureau, Baggot Street Community Welfare/HSE.  The answers were all similar – “it is too late we cannot help”. But what intrigues me most is that nobody mentioned the 1980 Act.

Now with three heads together we then phoned the solicitors on behalf of the Landlord – we spent a long time negotiating the cancellation of the Ejection Order which was to happen in 4 days. They lady now has a reprieve until the middle of January. The Ejection Order was cancelled.

This woman and her little dog have a roof over their head for Halloween and Christmas.

We got the Ejection order because this lady feared opening her post for two years.

Where is the new Disability Bill? I ask this question tonight to Enda Kenny, to Pat Rabitte, Joe Higgins, David Norris, and above all I ask An Taoiseach Mr Bertie Ahern and also to Minister McDowell who represents this Constituency and who is Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform.

What really saddened me was the week before her ejection she was full of anxiety and stress. In tears she tried to access a Government Agency, on a Tuesday evening, but she was refused by the door porter because she simply did not have her PRSI number or id.

I am not a lawyer but could someone out there clarify this lady’s rights in January. Many houses are being revamped in Dublin 4 – progress, greed and money but morally this lady has rights above all these things within the terms of the Constitution of Ireland.

Ignoring history – below is the quotation selected
This quotation to me personally goes back to our Famine, our emigration, our coffin ships, our civil wars and the conflict in the North of Ireland. Now we have wealth and the illusion it will never end……

‘Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it’
George Santayana 1803-1852
Spanish Born Philosopher

Friday December 29th, 2006

Georgian houses owners allowed them become so dilapidated

by Michelle Clarke (aka Jack Russell)

Thankfully all people in the house in Mountjoy Square are reported to be safe.  Apparently the house was sublet into flats, with an insufficient hall door to stop people entering and sleeping in the house at a substantial risk to others.

How many of these houses have we? Why? Who owns them? Who is responsible for the tenants rights and those of the landlords? I suggest it is just a hazy form of agreement that alleviates the Government from building houses in line with social demand.

This is unjust.

If people had died last night, would we know? If this happens in any of these run down properties of landlords often held in private companies, would we know?

A Prime Time programme team researched the property market talking to auctioneers and management companies before Christmas.

The Celtic Tiger engaged in a massive construction programme in the 1990’s.  The ideas, the plans existed based on similar projects in other countries, so blocks of apartments now adorn our cities, and towns; they are everywhere but the secret has yet to unfurl about co-operation and management companies and the effective running of apartments schemes and housing estates.

Everyone ought to beware of no legislation therefore inadequate Health and Safety Conditions. Alert yourself to the Law Reform and make the necessary submissions.

Again I am glad the people whose lives were recklessly and negligently put in danger are safe this morning but I would like to know what percentage of negligence applied to the letting of these rooms and if compliance of the Landlord with tenants is registered with the PRTB.

I walk in Dublin 4 a lot and many of the houses of Georgian renown exist here intermingled with those of the new rich and those that are awaiting demolition for development and which house a myriad of people in the meantime.

Elgin Road comes immediately to mind.  There are a number of houses near vacant with others in a hideous state of near dereliction with people living in them and no doubt facing eviction.  The beautiful St Bartholomew’s Church and the USA Embassy emphasize the inequalities that apply to some people.

If you live in apartments or tenancies, extra responsibility is needed. There is an obligation to other neighbours and this should be endorsed by legislation. Any views?

Remember, in the case of social housing, it is the State who pays the landlord for the tenancies yet the State fail to protect the occupiers rights’. The State are answerable to taxpayers for the provision of housing.

Michelle Clarke

Saturday July 14th, 2007

Almost a year later, Eviction/Ejection in affluent Dublin 4: a woman lives alone in a room, in a valuable property, and has nowhere to go
by Michelle Clarke

It is my humble belief that the Community Welfare Officer/District/Community nurse should operate in an integrated way to ensure that people who worked decades, paid their taxes and continue to do if they drink or smoke, are treated with human dignity, in the case where there is a change of owner of a property.

What is the point in making laws, setting up property residential boards etc. if people can be told that after 27 years in a bedsit, that they must move on. How easy is it for people to access the so called community health and social care provision system.

Where is the Affordable Housing? More importantly where is the equivalent to corporation housing that existed in this city in the early decades after Independence in 1921. Those houses in areas like the South Circular Road, and Cabra that now sell for in excess of 0.5 million euros.

I have looked at the Dublin City Council site today for affordable housing it is most informative and reassuring.  The truth is that it is a fairy tale.

In the last number of days, I have met a woman expecting a second child living in an apartment, being informed in writing that the Landlord plans to sell and that she and her family must leave in one month.  This is Ireland?

The people of Ireland expect more and have been used to more.  Remember Kimmage, Tallaght, Ronanstown, Blanchardstown, Moyross, Shannon —— these properties were built when Ireland was still a very young country but it was recognition of the need for housing for people who were living in slum conditions.   Then there was a real housing crisis in existence. I can recall the 1970’s in County Meath and families living in mobile homes.  Let’s get real and let’s hear some reality time Independent Ireland trying to forge an existence for its people in line with Ideas of the Proclamation. Recall all those emigrants of the 1950’s and the 1980’s, the remittances home to nurture a new country.

The third person I have met has been on the laughable Affordable List for a number of years also. This person alas has very poor health and needs a home.  She has waited years, and her health has deteriorated to such a poor state that she is now in an intensive care unit.  Where is the heart of the people?

Yes, we have private landlords taking up the slack and shortages from the obligations the State used to have but what guarantees exist here. The Landlord can decide to sell and yes, there is the PRTB (Properties Residential Tenancies Board) but I believe this is only 50% effective so where is the security of tenure for people and in particular to ensure as stable an environment for our children.

Does anyone know what happens in Europe? Perhaps some ideas are out there. I would like to hear something about this.

This is a country where people have made significant gains in the SSIA’s investments and contrary to the economic gurus there are people held back from taking holidays, buying cars, and purchasing property abroad and instead paid off their overdrafts and credit card debts. Well done to these people and thanks also to state agencies like MABS and TV programmes e.g. Eddie Hobbes and David McWilliams – the common sense factor therefore still remains.

We now need to get focused on pensions and I think there are suggestions to try SSIA investment vehicles and come up with affordable houses and/or secure letting arrangements for long term tenants by say an insurance company or partnership that underwrites provision of suitable properties for social housing.

What does a person do when unexpectedly they are about to have a child and the landlord chooses to sell on?  Who can sort out this conundrum? Situations remain too sketchy for people who rent until such time as they manage to get on the housing ladder.



About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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