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Image: Brian Fleming

"We won't be moving," say residents told to leave their homes a week before Christmas

Their landlord has gone into receivership and the receiver says there are health and safety concerns.
Dec 20th 2014, 7:50 PM 34,654 66

RESIDENTS OF A number of thatched cottages in Co Clare, say they can’t and won’t be leaving their homes after being told to vacate them by a receiver.

The Abbey West residents were hand-delivered letters calling on them to leave for health and safety reasons. The receiver, EY Ireland, gave them the letters on Tuesday of this week, asking them to leave on Friday (yesterday).

All of the residents have refused to leave.

Health and safety concerns

In a letter sent to one resident, seen by TheJournal.ie, EY Ireland says that it has been informed that the property is in breach of certain health and safety standards. It says that the matter is “being taken seriously” and that the property “must be vacated without delay” as a result of the health and safety risks.

“The relocation is regrettable,” says the letter.

One resident, Brian Fleming, told TheJournal.ie that he has been living at Bellharbour for the past 10 years. He said that in November the residents were informed a receiver had taken over the role of landlord, and a local auctioneer was appointed to liaise with them.

“On Tuesday night [16 December] a man and woman from Ernst and Young with a security guard called to our houses at night,” said Fleming. He said they handed over the letters saying they had to be “out of the house” at midday on Friday.

He described the letter as “out of the blue”. Bellharbour is home to artists and creative people, with three families living in the homes.

“There were kids crying”

“It was a big upset for everybody,” said Fleming. “There were kids crying and packing their bags. We had to try and explain to them we’re not going.”

“We won’t be moving and there’s no way they can move us,” added Fleming. There are plans to record a song and begin a campaign to draw attention to the residents’ plight.

No representatives from the receiver have visited Abbey West since Tuesday, said Fleming.

Yesterday, the day they were asked to leave, Fleming said people called around to deliver cake and biscuits to the residents, and neighbours asked how they could help. He added that there has been “a lot of crying” among the residents since Tuesday, but that yesterday’s support “pushed us across a threshold that we didn’t imagine we were going to go [over]“.

He described their mood now as “defiant”.

Why were they asked to leave?

Marcus Purcell, Receiver and Partner with EY Ireland explained:

As a result of a standard Health and Safety review carried out, the properties at Bellharbour were assessed as being unsafe for habitation due to failing fire safety standards. Therefore, for the safety and protection of the occupiers, the receivers had to take the decision to ask tenants to vacate the properties.

He said that the receivers informed occupiers “they will fund alternative accommodation and provide additional financial support recognising the difficulties this required action will cause”.

The receivers did not take this decision lightly, particularly at this time of year, but considered the safety of the occupiers to be the priority.

Fleming said that the residents were not happy with moving to alternative accommodation and supplying the receiver with receipts.

“Why would leave our homes and be homeless? Pack up all your belongings, bring your dogs and everything – it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” he said.

Read: Family who slept in car after being evicted allowed back home>

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Aoife Barry

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