We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

21 Harrington Road. Google Streetview

'Not going back to hostels': The Dublin tenants resisting eviction on Harrington Street

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that the RTB would be investigating the matter.

“I’VE BEEN IN the hostel life before and I’m not going back,” Dylan Reynolds, one of the three remaining tenants at a property facing eviction in Dublin city centre said, after an eviction attempt yesterday led to the tenants barricading themselves in.

Reynolds, Rosemary Jones and another tenant say they were woken up yesterday morning when security guards arrived to evict them from 21 Harrington Street, Portobello.

Later that day, the property’s owner was injured during an altercation at a protest in support of the tenants.

Speaking to the Irish Independent on Wednesday, the property owner said he served a notice of the termination of the tenancy last November. 

Of the 14 rooms at the property, which were rented by people exiting homelessness, only two downstairs bedrooms are currently occupied.

One tenant, who preferred not to be named, was asleep in the sitting room near the front.

He had been up all night and was too frightened to sleep in his isolated room at the back of the house in case the hired security return, Jones explained.

The tenants told The Journal that they are refusing to leave the property despite the fact their tenancy was terminated on 10 May because they believe the eviction is unfair.

After being asked about the case in the Dáil today, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that the matter was to be investigated. 

He was responding to a question from People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy who labelled it “an illegal eviction” and said that that “there was no court order for the eviction”.

Responding to Murply, An Tánaiste said:

“The Government takes illegal evictions very seriously. We are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that tenants are treated fairly, respectfully and within the confines of what is legally permissible.

“The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage has written to the director of the Residential Tenancies Board, RTB, under his powers under the Residential Tenancies Acts to ensure this matter is investigated thoroughly as early as possible.”

Labour party leader Ivana Bacik, who represents Dublin Bay South where Harrington Street is located, tweeted that she had met with the tenants yesterday.

Reynolds said that he isn’t just trying to avoid being made homeless by the eviction, but that he cannot bear to become homeless again after going through it before.

“That’s not even going back a step. That’s literally dropping from a cliff straight down. I can’t go back to the hostels. To help us, the services said they needed more time. So they were saying ‘obviously we don’t consent to you overholding but if you have nowhere to go, you stay there’.”

Reynolds, who is in his mid-20s, said that a group of over a dozen people exiting homelessness moved into the property in December 2020 and have been paying approximately €990 each month with the help of the Housing Assistance Payment.

This is despite the fact that many rooms in the building appear to be water damaged or damp.

Jones, a woman in her mid-fifties, said that she woke up to the noise of wooden panels being used to board up windows and outside doors yesterday.

IMG-0398 Some of the water damage observed by The Journal. Jamie McCarron Jamie McCarron

Security entered the house and began moving her possessions outside, she claimed.

The tenants were supported by the Community Action Tenants Union (CATU). Some of its members arrived at the house after the incident and repaired damaged locks and doors, as well as putting Jones’ possessions back inside, she explained.

CATU tweeted today that despite a rise in evictions following the end of the eviction ban, the union had “stood up to landlords, developers, councils”, citing Harrington Street as an example of its success.

IMG-0408 Some areas have been boarded up. Jamie McCarron Jamie McCarron

Aside from sitting on the building’s front steps for short periods, none of the three tenants have left in days for fear of not being able to get back inside, or that security will arrive.

“We’re trying to cover the cameras inside the house so that we can’t be under surveillance. They’ll come back if they see all the CATU volunteers leaving,” Reynolds asserted.

Jones cut in: “They can probably hear us right now”.

Reynolds continued, pointing out three new latches installed on the front door, “We block it with stuff at night,” he added.

IMG_0413 The tenants' makeshift attempt at covering one of the buildings interior cameras Jamie McCarron Jamie McCarron

“I haven’t slept in days.  I’m on survival mode. I would be anyway if it was just me here, but it’s just the fact that I have the other two tenants here as well,” Reynolds continued.

“They did nothing wrong and they’re very terrified of going back to homelessness.”

He said that he is ready to ring CATU for help if another eviction attempt takes place and he predicts that the security guards will return tonight or early in the morning.

“Vulnerable is the word. At the end of the day, we can’t get the Gardaí involved because it’s a civil matter. We can’t leave our property because then we have nowhere to go.  If we stay in the property, who knows what will happen.”

Jones added:

“My mental health is desperate, I’m in fear of my life at the minute. Moving here, I just wanted my life back after 17 months of being homeless, six months of being in one-night hostels in the city.”

“This was going to be a stepping stone for us, not a step back.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel