‘Now I have to go and live on the street’: Protesters gather in Dublin 15 over lifting of eviction ban

Schoolteachers and people working with refugees in the area are seeing first-hand the effects of homelessness

“I have been living in Ireland for 20 years and I have never had to ask for help, and now I have to go and live on the street.”

Daiva Pushkewsania (57) came to Ireland from Lithuania in May 2004 and has been living for the last 11 years in a house share with five others in Hartstown, Dublin 15, where she has been paying €400 per month. She received an eviction notice in June of last year from her landlord and must leave on June 1st of this year because the house is being sold.

“I have nowhere to go,” she said at a protest on Thursday evening at Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin 15 over the lifting of the eviction ban.

Ms Pushkewsania works in the canteen at the National Reception Centre, Baleskin, St Margaret’s Road, Finglas, which houses refugees. “They come from different countries all over the world, like Iraq, Afghanistan,” she says.


“I have been on the public housing list for the last 13 years,” she says, but on Wednesday submitted the last of her paperwork to the council.

“They know my situation,” she says. “I think I will get a one-bed apartment, but I don’t know now exactly.”

Kate Relihan (45) is a primary schoolteacher in Coolmine, Dublin 15 and is seeing the effects of homelessness first-hand.

“We have one child arriving at 11, 12, malnourished, sleeping in the class,” she says, “and has been homeless since Saturday.”

She feels that the “trauma of homelessness” is now a widespread issue affecting schools in the Dublin 15 area, particularly the Deis schools. “You would almost need a bed in the classroom for children falling asleep,” she says.

To compound matters, homelessness is now becoming an issue affecting the teachers themselves, says Ms Relihan. “Sixty-two per cent of supply panel posts were not filled this year,” she says. “You have teachers now paying €1,000 for a box room.”

A further complicating matter is the severe underfunding of the education sector, says Ms Relihan. “There is a budget of €11 billion for the education sector,” she says. “But in reality it should be €22 billion. There are no clinicians, no OTs, no speech and language.”

Ms Relihan also feels that there is an undercurrent of racism which is becoming more prevalent. “You have the lies that the Ukrainians are getting everything,” she says. “The National Party have a base here.”

People who have received an eviction notice should stay in their homes if the ban is lifted and the Socialist Party will support them, local Socialist Party member Ruth Coppinger told protesters.

“Back in 2013 people who were facing eviction were contacting me,” she says. “So this housing crisis has been going on for a decade now. There should be protests all over the country. The council and the State should be building housing on public land.”