High Court ruling on homes makes 63 people homeless

by Padraig Conlon
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Up to 63 adults and children say they are homeless after the High Court upheld orders requiring them to leave their city centre homes due to fire safety concerns.

The group, all residents of bedsits and flats at Numbers 100, 101 and 104 Seville Place, initially received notice last week requiring them to vacate the properties after the High Court granted Dublin City Council (DCC) temporary injunctions.

They were back in the High Court on Monday responding to the injunctions, but were told by Mr Justice Garret Simons that he “no alternative” but to uphold the orders.

Sympathising with the tenants, he said he would be negligent if he ignored evidence put forward by a senior safety officer for DCC which showed that each of the buildings is “potentially a deathtrap”.

DCC’s actions are against the owners of the properties, Vincent and Catherine (Kathleen) Donoghue and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, who was appointed receiver over the three properties by AIB in October 2016.

Mr Donoghue told the court he has had no control over the properties for nearly three years.

The receiver wants to sell the properties and the court was told contracts are in place to do so.

One of the residents, Romas Tusla, said in an affidavit he had asked the council for the fire safety reports so he and the other tenants can fix any defects themselves.

Justice Simons refused to vary the orders, but accepted the tenants had a right to contest the council’s application.

He said DCC’s fire safety concerns in the three buildings had not been addressed and adjourned the case for two weeks to allow the residents to prepare their cases.

However, he said the orders to vacate the buildings are to continue.

A spokesperson for the Irish Housing Network told Dublin Gazette: “It is remarkable that nobody is being prosecuted for this and it seems the norm.

“Grant Thornton, the receiver, should have accommodated these families as they knew about this for 18 months-plus, but sat on their hands.

“The DRHE [Dublin Regional Housing Executive] have only accommodated five single people and two families so far [from the properties], and this isn’t good enough.

“DCC need to start compulsory purchases orders (CPO) to tackle these type of run down properties. 

“At the end of day, tenants and families are the only losers in this.

“Landlords that neglect property walk away free from prosecution while families pushed into homeless.”

Dublin Gazette contacted DCC and Grant Thornton in relation to this story but had not received a response by the time of going to print.

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