Boxing Day or as some call it St. Stephen’s Day, the day of the Leopardstown Races, I was walking through what I call my smart urban village, called Upper Baggot Street, which had shed its clothing of Tech workers and elites for those people who have lived their lives in this area. There is always a story to be heard. The Waterloo was open to business and I sat down with a few people for a chat about life and their lives. The management in the Waterloo, because of the day that was in it, made the kind gesture of a free Americano. Thank you to them. I started talking about my dream for the Royal City of Dublin hospital (Upper Baggot Street) https://canisgallicus.com/2019/11/23/royal-city-of-dublin-hospital-founded-1832-advertised-for-sale-in-2015-local-people-would-really-like-to-know-the-plans-letter-by-ian-thompson-irish-times-23rd-november-2019-homelessness-is-all/ only to hear of yet another story of hardship. This woman lives in a “flat” in a Georgian house which has offices – she is at the top of the building so she is a very good example to a Taoiseach like Leo Varadkar who puts great emphasis (swimming in the Forty Foot, rather than visiting the homeless) that here is a person who is fit both mentally and physically; she has worked her entire life and yet she is to be evicted from her home of 78 years. Where is the Justice? Where is the action? I am writing to the usual people for help. My preference is always Fr Peter McVerry and Alice Leahy. Then I will write to Dermot Lacey, Councillor in the area. Eoghan Murphy is next on the agenda and then of course there is a person I consider an actor rather than a procrastinator and that is Jim O’Callaghan, Fianna Fail.
Let me take you back to 2006 because it looks like I was writing about the same type of evictions then and the big question to be answered is what has been done to provide solutions?
Evictions, the vulnerable in Dublin 4.
There is a very saying. Come progress, come poverty.
During the last census in Ireland, it was spoken about in the Joe Duffy Liveline. It 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 a lady in distress sitting on a park bench crying – I stopped spoke to her and listened intently to her story. The lady told me come October 10th 2006 at 10.00 p.m. the Sherriff was coming on behalf of the landlord with an order of ejection.
It intrigued me that the word ‘EVICtion…..is not being used now. I took some particulars off 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 enquiries. 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 and in this I include Threshold, Social Services, Citizen Rights Bureau….The answers were all similar….it is too late we cannot help. But what intrigues me most is that nobody mentioned the 1980 Act?
I then phoned the solicitors on behalf of the Landlord – I 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.
Herself and her little dog have a roof over their head for Halloween and Christmas.
They 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 Bertie – of Course and also to Minister McDowell who represents this Constituence and 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 2007. 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.
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 codemned to repeat it’
George Santayana 1803-1852
Spanish Born Philosopher
This story had a happy ending thanks in the main to the assistance of Ruari Quinn and a team he worked with. It is hard to believe that nearly 13 years going forward there are still elderly people, who have paid taxes all their lives, living the life of sadness because elderly people are facing the threat of eviction at a time in their lives when they are most vulnerable.
Michelle Clarke, Social Justice and Ethics