St Helen’s Court residents in Dún Laoghaire protest against eviction

‘I don’t have the resources to get anything outside of this. It’s deeply worrying’

Protests against the mass eviction of residents from St Helen’s Court in Dún Laoghaire outside the apartments. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

Protests against the mass eviction of residents from St Helen’s Court in Dún Laoghaire outside the apartments. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

 

Seven remaining tenants of a south Dublin apartment complex are awaiting the outcome of talks between their local authority and a corporate landlord that could stave off their eviction.

On Friday residents of St Helen’s Court in Dún Laoghaire, which is half empty, protested on the street in what is likely to be the final push in a five-year struggle to remain in their homes.

Last February, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) issued a determination order backing their vacation as sought by the owners, Donegal-based Mill Street Projects.

Although they had avoided eviction under recent Covid-19 prohibition, they now believe it a matter of time before the landlord secures a court enforcement order.

“It’s been going on for years basically but it’s at crunch point now,” said local People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who has campaigned on the tenants’ behalf.

“After several failed evictions they [Mill Street Projects] have now succeeded in getting an eviction order against the tenants.”

Mr Boyd Barrett said ownership of the apartments had changed hands and that the objective of the current owner was somewhat ambiguous, although he believed they were attempting to empty every unit.

A number have left throughout the standoff with seven remaining.

A motion adopted unanimously at a Strategic Policy Committee of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council earlier this month required its housing department to engage with the owners “around the possible delivery of units” and the continued provision of “supports for those at risk of homelessness”.

Immediate threat

A spokeswoman for the council did not elaborate on what this might mean, or on the progress of any engagement. People Before Profit Cllr Melissa Halpin said that while she believed efforts were under way, it was unclear these would resolve the immediate threat to the remaining tenants.

A letter they received last April reminded them of the RTB determination and asked that they make arrangements to hand over keys and alarm codes.

What happens next remains unclear. The company could not be reached for comment and their solicitors did not respond to requests for comment.

Tony Geraghty, a 63-year-old tenant of more than 10 years who recently lost his job, said he feared for his future.

“I don’t have the resources to get anything outside of this. It’s deeply worrying,” he said at Friday’s protest involving four tenants, carrying placards demanding housing rights. “The atmosphere is not good. We are all very tense.”