Housing minister to meet Limerick residents facing eviction

Coveney to meet with families at Fisherman's Quay, Grove Island

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Housing minister to meet Limerick residents facing eviction

Residents Alex Grigorjeus, Alan McCarthy and Ryan Mowat with Cllr Gilligan

HOUSING Minister Simon Coveney is to meet families facing eviction from their city apartments this Monday.

It comes after pressure was put on the Cork TD from three local politicians to intervene with residents in Fisherman's Quay, Grove Island who were given notice to quit as their new landlord wants to sell.

Residents met on Sunday lunchtime, and received communication that Mr Coveney – who is on an official visit to the city – will meet a delegation of the tenants ordered to "vacate possession" of their properties across the summer months.

“We need the state to step in like they did in Tyrellstown to buy the apartments and keep the tenants in situ. We also need the government to close the loophole which allows funds be able to evict tenants in order to sell units at a higher price,” Cllr Cian Prendiville said.

Separately, residents from the Strand Apartments – who Mr Coveney stepped in to help save from eviction – have also pledged their full backing to the latest tenants set to lose their homes.

Jan O’Sullivan plus Cllrs Prendiville and John Gilligan have all called on Mr Coveney to bring forward legislation which would prevent them being evicted. Cllr Gilligan – who will bring a motion to the next council meeting – said by not asking, the minister is “adding to misery”.

“I know the depth of crisis there is. I’m dealing with people living with parents, couchsurfing, and staying with friends, as they have no roof over their heads. Yet we allow this to happen. It’s downright immoral,” he said.

The offer of help of the residents of the Strand Apartments who faced eviction by a vulture fund in January is significant. Their eviction notices were withdrawn after a high-profile campaign, which saw Mr Coveney write to the property owners.

One of the residents, Tara Robinson said: “There is no appetite for this from the general public. Everyone knows someone who is in some kind of woe with housing, whether you’re a distressed mortgage holder or a tenant. I really do not think the general populace want to see this happen.”

Grove Island resident Alan McCarthy said: “It’s encouraging and nice to realise people care and are putting themselves in our position. They will have to drag me out kicking and screaming from there because i’m not leaving without a fight.”

Mr McCarthy, who has lived in Fisherman’s Quay for three years, clashed with Kersten Mehl of property management firm KMPM which sent the eviction letters on the behalf of Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd.

During a debate on Live 95FM's Limerick Today show, he said, in reference to the fact that he received the letter on Good Friday: “You’re running the risk of being compared to a famous Roman governor named Pontius Pilate. Have you no heart?”

In response, Mr Mehl said: “I’ll tell you where I was over Easter. On Easter Sunday, I was in the Dachau Concentration Camp.

“That would make you think of a crisis.”