Wicklow council appeals to church over eviction of vulnerable men

Pentecostal denomination Irish Assemblies of God issues notice to 30 recovering addicts

The Irish Assemblies of God plans to sell the Greystones property. Photograph: Getty Images

The Irish Assemblies of God plans to sell the Greystones property. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Wicklow County Council has appealed to a Christian church body to reconsider its plans to evict 30 vulnerable men from their homes.

The Irish Assemblies of God (IAOG) has issued eviction notices to 30 men recovering from addiction, as they plan to sell the Greystones property in which they live.

The IAOG, also known as Christian Churches Ireland, is a Pentecostal denomination with about 30 congregations across the State. Its values, according to its website, are underpinned by commitments to “share resources for the common good”, “ rejoice in each other’s successes and encourage in times of difficulties” and “respond compassionately to real felt needs in society”.

Among its assets is Carraig Eden, a large Victorian house on the Greystones seafront where one of its congregations, Saol Nua, meets. It is also home to 30 men who have completed an 11-month residential rehabilitation programme run by Tiglin, a drug, alcohol and gambling addiction charity, in nearby Ashford. Women are treated by Tiglin at another location.

Those who have completed the Ashford programme progress to Carraig Eden where they can live for up to three years, with Tiglin supports. They pay €75 a week rent to the IAOG, cook for themselves and must engage in work or education.

€3 million offer

The IAOG, however, wants to sell the Carraig Eden property. Tiglin applied for approved housing body status and was last year supported by the Department of Housing and Wicklow County Council, to offer €1.7 million for the property. This offer was accepted by the IAOG. However a delay in completing paperwork resulted in IAOG accepting an offer of €3 million from a developer, last month.

Tiglin chairman, Aubrey McCarthy, last Monday described the situation as “dreadful and a real crisis for our residents”, and appealed to the IAOG to reconsider the planned sale.

On Wednesday residents received letters from the IAOG telling them Carraig Eden was to be sold. “I regret therefore that we must ask you to vacate the property.” A deadline of 31st July, 2017, has been given with a commitment to refund three months rent “up to a maximum of €1,000 to help with the deposit and advance rent on your new accommodation”.

‘Notice to quit’

In a statement the council said the service at Carraig Eden “is not something that is being provided for in the county by another approved housing body”.

A spokesman said the council and Tiglin would, if the IAOG would reconsider, “work together to ensure that the long-term needs of the facility’s residents would be addressed by their progression into sustainable, long-term tenancies.

“The council has been advised that the residents have this week received ‘notice to quit’ for July 31st, 2017 and would welcome a reopening of negotiations with the vendor to ascertain if there is a way to resolve the matter.

“The council is also exploring alternative options with Tiglin, but it is unlikely that an alternative, suitable property may become available at any early stage.”

The IAOG said it was not prepared to make a comment “at this time”.