Dublin tenants report alleged eviction assaults to gardaí

Landlord is also accused of breaking a court injunction during Mountjoy Square incident

Landlord Paul Howard. Tenants say he and others broke down their front door at 10am on Sunday and put them out dressed in nightclothes and without shoes. Photograph: Padraig O’Reilly

Landlord Paul Howard. Tenants say he and others broke down their front door at 10am on Sunday and put them out dressed in nightclothes and without shoes. Photograph: Padraig O’Reilly

 

A tenant and a number of housing activists who were forcibly removed from an apartment by its owner on Sunday have made statements alleging assault to gardaí.

The young people, all in their 20s, say they were injured during the incident at 52 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, on Sunday morning during which landlord Paul Howard and a number of men forced their way into the apartment. They say Mr Howard breached a court injunction preventing him entering the apartment.

The High Court, on December 20th, granted an injunction to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), preventing Mr Howard entering the apartment pending full resolution, including appeals, between him and the tenants. The tenants disputed a rent increase higher than the permitted 4 per cent in a “rent pressure zone”. The case was heard at the RTB in early January, resulting in a monetary award to tenants. It is now being appealed to the residency tribunal.

The young people say Mr Howard and several men broke down the apartment front door at about 10am on Sunday, entered the bedrooms where they were sleeping and put them out of the apartment dressed in night clothes and without shoes or other belongings.

T-shirt

When The Irish Times arrived shortly before 11am, the top left of the apartment door was smashed in and one young man was dressed only in a T-shirt and boxer shorts.

They allege they had been injured during the incident and showed bruised ribs, a bruised forehead, red hand-marks around one man’s neck and small defensive cuts on one man’s hands and forearms. One young woman, Helena Roig (27) from Spain, described the experience as like being in a “terror movie”.

The men threw the young people’s belongings out, some of them from the first-floor window on to the street.

Tenant Rejane Radthe from Germany gave a statement to gardaí at Mountjoy Garda station on Tuesday about Mr Howard’s alleged mistreatment of tenants and the alleged breach of the injunction.

Darragh Power, who sustained wounds to his arms and hands, and Joey Gavin, who sustained bruised ribs, made statements alleging assault. Further statements will be made on Wednesday, it is understood.

A spokesman said the RTB had been in contact with the tenants on Sunday and Monday.

“Following this initial contact, we are waiting now for the tenants to engage formally with us before we can take the matter further as the RTB will need evidence, via affidavits and, or other supporting material, to pursue this matter.”

Ms Radthe was on Tuesday evening meeting the tenants’ solicitor, Gary Daly, to instruct him on what steps to take.

It is understood Mr Howard remains in the apartment pending a decision by the tenants or the RTB to seek his removal and possible arrest by gardaí.