Family say they slept under bridge after Limerick eviction
‘The bailiffs came Saturday morning and told us to get out of the house’
In February, the High Court ruled a financial fund was entitled to possession of the home in Limerick under a “lifetime” mortgage of €52,700 obtained by John Johnson’s father, Larry, eight years before his death in 2015.
A family from Limerick city have said they slept under a bridge after being evicted from their home at the weekend.
John Johnson (54) and his adult children were evicted from their home in Assumpta Park last Saturday. The family said they had been unable to source emergency accommodation due to a lack of available bed spaces.
“The bailiffs came Saturday morning and told us to get out of the house,” Mr Johnson said.
“I asked them what about Covid-19 and they said that we had to go and that they were only doing their job.”
He said they left but had no place left to go.
“It’s ridiculous, especially with the pandemic.”
In February, the High Court ruled that a financial fund was entitled to possession of the Johnson’s home under a “lifetime” mortgage of €52,700 obtained by Mr Johnson’s father, Larry, eight years before his death in 2015.
A “lifetime” or “reverse” mortgage allows elderly homeowners to borrow against the value of their home, with the intention that the principal monies will be paid out of their estate following their death.
Mr Johnson said the family couldn’t afford to satisfy the €52,700 loan. They slept under Sarsfield Bridge on Saturday and Sunday night, he said.
“I’m working all my life in the bar trade, and I was on a community employment scheme for three years and I got another job in a pub. I was there a week and it closed due to Covid,” Mr Johnson added.
Local Independent councillor Frankie Daly said he was trying to help source accommodation for the family.
“I think its appalling that, in the middle of a pandemic, a vulnerable man and his family have been left to sleep out under a bridge,” Cllr Daly said.
A spokesman for Limerick City and County Council said it did not comment on individual cases. However, he confirmed the council has engaged with the family and that “an assessment of the customer has now taken place”.
“The current situation with Covid-19 has been challenging for the provision for homeless services but Limerick Homeless Action Team are working to ensure spaces for all those presenting,” the spokesman said.
According to the latest figures, there were 2,654 applicants on the council’s housing waiting list. There were 128 individuals and 30 families accessing homeless services locally.