Couple evicted from home may ‘sleep in a van’

Martin and Violet Coyne’s possessions be removed as court told eviction ‘illegal’

The possessions of Violet and Martin Coyne will be collected from their home tonight by an arrangement made in the court today.

Reacting outside the court the pair said they may have to sleep in a van tonight.

Violet Coyne (61) in her dressing gown and slippers and her husband Martin(73) in a borrowed jumper were in court for a contempt hearing this afternoon.

Earlier today they were evicted from the home they rented for 15 years at Carpenterstown, Dublin.


Barrister Suzanne Boylan for the couple told the court that sheriff had not been entitled to remove them from their home and that these actions were illegal.

Ms Boylan said the couple had been “rough handled” and were not allowed to get clothes or money from their home.

She said all possessions in the house belonged to them. They will not be allowed to enter the house to collect their possessions but others have been designated to do so.

Judge Raymond Fullam adjourned the case until October 7th.

Speaking outside the court Mrs Coyne asked if what the sheriff did was illegal, what are they being “locked out” of their home and “homeless”.

Mr Coyne said he “might as well have” been jailed. “At least I’d have a roof over my head,” he said.

Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger said outside the court the pair are now "homeless". "There is nowhere for them to go. Tonight they will probably stay with family or friends. We're going to have to approach the council tomorrow to see if we can get emergency accommodation," she said.

Circuit Court judge Ms Justice Jacqueline Linnane in July said the order for the eviction of the couple could be sent to the County Sheriff for execution.

Speaking before the court hearing, Ms Coyne said she opened the door at about 7.30am and three people from the sheriff’s office put their foot inside the door and asked them to leave.

“There are four people in the house from the receivers, they are changing the locks and all our possessions are inside,” she said. “By law what they’re doing is right but we’re not getting any justice,” she added.

“I haven’t a clue what’s going to happen next,” Mr Coyne said.

Ms Coyne said they were now homeless and their options tonight were either going to a shelter or “sitting out on the road in the rain”.

ACC Bank is seeking repossession of the home because the landlord, Daragh Ward, went into receivership in 2012 and they want to sell the house to reduce his debt.

“This is a disgrace that a couple of pensioners have bailiffs arrive on their doorstep, unannounced, at 7.30am on the morning of their court case,” Ms Coppinger said in a statement earlier today.

“This case highlights the extent of the housing crisis in Ireland 2014. Evictions by banks and receivers should be outlawed and a housing emergency declared,” she said.

In July, Ms Justice Linnane said an order for vacation of the property had been first made in September 2013. She had made her own order on March 27th and Mr Coyne had given a sworn undertaking to vacate the property when he came before the court on June 25th.

She said the High Court had also refused a stay on her order as there was no legal grounds for it.

Mr Coyne told the court he had made the sworn statement in "good faith", but he had been unable to find alternative accommodation through Fingal County Council.

He said he and his wife had not been “sitting on our arses” doing nothing since the sworn statement had been made, but they lacked the money to seek alternative accommodation.

Counsel for ACC Bank Stephen Byrne said it had not been to correct to state that no attempt to find alternative accommodation had been made for the couple.

Mr Byrne said the refusal of the Coynes to move out meant the landlord’s debts were increasing month by month.

Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery

Genevieve Carbery is Deputy Head of Audience at The Irish Times