Coronavirus: Council tenants who have parties ‘risk eviction’

Large party at Oliver Bond flats in Dublin ‘very depressing’, says council housing head

The Oliver Bond flats complex in Dublin’s south inner city. Photograph: Collins

The Oliver Bond flats complex in Dublin’s south inner city. Photograph: Collins

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Residents of local authority housing complexes risk eviction if they organise large parties on council property, Dublin City Council head of housing Brendan Kenny has warned.

A large outdoor party took place at the Oliver Bond flat complex in the southwest inner city on Saturday night. The event, held in an area that has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the State, continued into the early hours of Sunday morning before eventually being brought to a close by gardaí.

A maximum of 15 people are allowed to meet outdoors during Level 3 restrictions in the capital. More than 100 people are understood to have attended the event that involved a marquee and music equipment, brought in on trucks to a small football pitch in the centre of the complex.

Information has been supplied to the gardaí in relation to those suspected of being involved in organising what is understood to have been a birthday party for a 19-year-old who does not live in the Oliver Bond flats but has “associations” with the complex, Mr Kenny said.

“People came in here with trucks, and we know who they are. People organised a marquee. It’s mad to think this would happen in the current circumstances, with everything we know about Covid-19. It’s very depressing.”

The area is monitored by CCTV, and this is being reviewed for further identifying material, including the licence plates of the trucks involved, Mr Kenny said.

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Prior to the weekend’s events, the council had already sent letters to Oliver Bond residents warning them against holding parties indoors or outdoors.

“It’s important to say that most of the residents of Oliver Bond are fine, really decent people, but we have had a lot of complaints recently about parties,” Mr Kenny said.

“We did send a letter to residents, and this was before the advice changed for Dublin, advising them of the guidelines and that they are risking their tenancy if they have parties.”

‘Last resort’

Eviction would be a “last resort” but was a recourse open to the council, Mr Kenny said.

The complaints received had largely related to “random activities”, he said.

A screengrab from a video on social media showing the crowd at the event at the Oliver Bond flat complex in Dublin over the weekend.
A screengrab from a video on social media showing the crowd at an event at the Oliver Bond flat complex in Dublin over the weekend.

“It has largely been groups of lads and girls drinking, nothing like what happened on Saturday – that was the most organised thing we’ve seen.”

Similar organised events have not been reported in relation to the council’s other estates, Mr Kenny said, but he is concerned that problems may increase as Covid-19 restrictions continue.

“Anecdotally, anti-social behaviour does seem to be on the increase. It is maybe inevitable when there are so little outlets for people. In general, people are well behaved, and the number of confirmed cases in our flat complexes have been pretty low. Our staff have been working very hard with these communities, so when something like this happens at the weekend, it is very depressing.”

Commenting on the event, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said gardaí were investigating it. He said it appeared the message around the Covid-19 restrictions was not getting through to some people and they were still congregating in large groups.

According to the Health Surveillance Protection Centre, the electoral district that contains Oliver Bond Street flats had 69 confirmed cases of Covid-19 during September 1st-14th.

It had a rate of 163 cases per 100,000 of population for that time period, three times the national average.

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