Tathony House tenants protest eviction at City Hall

The protesters shouted “Homes for need, not for greed” by the steps of the civic building.

The protest lasted for an hour, starting at 5:30pm and ending at 6:30pm. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

A protest was held outside Dublin City Hall over the eviction of dozens of tenants in Tathony House. 

The landlord of the Dublin 8 apartment block – located between James’s Hospital and the Royal Hospital Kilmainham – has planned to sell the property, handing out eviction notices to tenants mid-October.  

Up to 100 tenants across 35 apartments are to be removed from the complex by next June, with many residents fearing they will not be able to find affordable housing and will end up homeless.

The tenants were joined by supporters and others facing mass eviction, particularly those from 94 and 96 Lower Rathmines Road.  

Under the Tyrrelstown Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act of 2016, such a large number of tenants shouldn’t be allowed to be evicted at once.  

However, if the property owner is caused “undue hardship” financially by allowing the tenants to stay, they can legally evict them.  

James O’Toole, a Tathony House resident since 2009, took to a loudspeaker to talk about the hardship residents are facing.  

“It’s absolute disgrace that people are facing into Christmas with fear of homelessness in the new year and it is homelessness that people in Tathony House face, because if you look on or any other rental website everything is beyond the reach of most ordinary workers,” he said.  

“I earn €230 [a] week from working 19 hours in community employment. On January 1st I will be earning €247.50. I’d like to ask the council and government what they think someone on €247.50 is supposed to do when they’re evicted in the New Year.” 

“There is nothing that I can afford to live in”

James O’Toole, Tathony House resident

“They’re going to have to deal with the tenants of Tathony House when we go down to Parkgate Street and hand ourselves over to homeless services because there’s nowhere for people to go.”  

O’Toole said that the Tathony tenants had a meeting with Dublin City Council to resolve the issue a few weeks ago.  

The residents asked the council to directly purchase the property through approved housing bodies like The Iveagh Trust or Clúid

There is a precedent for councils working with housing bodies to help keep people in their homes. In 2019 Cork County Council and Clúid purchased the Leeside apartment complex, saving it’s residents from the threat of eviction.  

Protesters held banners and placards demanding an end to mass evictions. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

According to O’Toole, the council were reluctant to commit to direct purchase because not enough of the tenants were on the housing list and HAP (Housing Assistance Payment).  

“We all know that the housing list threshold is too low, so loads of low-paid workers don’t qualify for social housing,” O’Toole said.  

He also doubted that his landlord was caused “undue hardship” saying that the 35 apartments yield as much as €700,000 in rent profits a year.  

Continuing to object the eviction, O’Toole highlighted that a Brazilian student and his pregnant girlfriend are one of the many tenants under threat of homelessness.  

John Dean, a protestor and renter explained his grievances with the current government’s handling of the housing crisis.  

“I think the main issue really is that the government is looking to keep house prices and property prices high and that’s the driver of all of their policy,” he said.  

“Ever since the crash in 2008 and the financial crisis the government had been pursuing things that will keep house prices high, whether that’s not building public housing or giving subsidies to private developers and landlords.”  

Dean pointed to Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures that showed that there are over 166,000 vacant properties in Ireland, with over 48,000 vacant for six years 

“It’s not a simple case of we don’t have enough houses, it’s the case that policy itself is affecting how people live.”

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