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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Sam Boal via
Remaining Tathony House residents to stay put pending RTB ruling on mass eviction
There are 10 remaining households facing an eviction they say is illegal.

RESIDENTS OF DUBLIN’S Tathony House intend to stay put in the property beyond this Friday, saying they have nowhere else to go.

As the eviction date has inched closer, tenants have become increasingly vocal about their landlord’s decision to sell the property and evict 34 households in the process.

Now, with just 48 hours to go, the residents are planning another rally at midday on Friday to protest what they deem an illegal eviction.

The ten remaining households were ordered to move out by 2 June, but say will remain in situ until their case with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has concluded, as is their legal right.

There were 34 households in the building when the eviction notice was served, but some who moved out since have had to relocate to places like Meath and Dundalk as they were unable to find a home in Dublin.

Madeleine Johansson, a People Before Profit councillor and Tathony tenant of 14 years, told TheJournal there was “no indication” that the landlord wanted to sell before the notice was served in October.

“We’ve just assumed that we’d be able to stay here.”

The tenants argued that the mass eviction violates the Tyrrelstown Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act of 2016, which prevents property owners from evicting 10 or more units of their property, unless they would be caused “undue hardship” financially by allowing the tenants to stay.

Johansson believes that people who work in Dublin should be able to live there too.

“That’s very simple that that should be the case.

“We’re not going to volunteer to go outside of Dublin because it just doesn’t make any sense if we work here.”

She said that the landlord’s decision has affected the mental health of tenants, which include a cancer patient, a lone parent and healthcare worker.

“It’s been very stressful because you’re constantly sort of thinking ‘okay, where are we going to be in six months’ time?’ That not knowing part of it is really hard,” she said.

“It’s mentally very stressful.”

The landlord could hypothetically sell to Dublin City Council and keep the tenants in situ but, according to tenants, when the council contacted him, he didn’t respond.

The landlord did not respond to a request for comment from The Journal

Johansson and her partner James O’Toole have spearheaded the tenants’ campaign, with O’Toole saying that there has been a “profound change” in the attitudes of the building’s tenants since the eviction ban was lifted.

EVICTION STORY83 Sam Boal Tathony House tenants James O'Toole and Cllr Madeleine Johansson Sam Boal

Johansson said: “We wouldn’t have known our neighbours very well here before… you’d just say hello to people in the corridor and that would be it really.

“But I suppose we felt it was important to get in touch and let our neighbours know what rights they have – because we thought that this was not a legal eviction – to make sure that people were aware that they could take the case to the RTB.”

If the eviction is found to be illegal, the notice period will restart from when a new legal notice is served, giving tenants like Johansson another 224 days to find somewhere else.

“It does give us more time but in reality I don’t believe that the housing crisis will be sorted in nine months’ time because obviously we’re seeing lots of people with notices to quit and where are all those people going to go? There’s not going to be enough space for those people,” she said.

“I don’t see that changing in that period of time, which is why we’re saying that we shouldn’t be evicted, full stop.”

Johansson is originally from Sweden, but has lived in Dublin for 18 years. All her family are still in Sweden.

“A lot of people in this building are migrant workers who are here working, contributing to our society, but most of them wouldn’t have family here and wouldn’t have that option,” she said.

“If they were evicted, they wouldn’t have been able to go and stay with family, so they would have to go into emergency accommodation.”

tahony house 09 Sam Boal One of many rallies outside Tathony House Sam Boal

Gianluca Pollastro came here from Italy 10 years ago and has been living in Tathony House for the last three. 

He has just finished chemotherapy for lung cancer, which he is still recovering from.

Speaking to TheJournal, he said: “In six months I couldn’t find a place to move, so I’m really worried to be homeless. I don’t know where to go … there is no place to go.

He described “crazy pricing” – €1,400 for a room – and the struggle to get a viewing, or even a response from landlords he contacted.

There is no place to go.

Pollastro has no family in Ireland that he could stay with while he finds permanent alternative housing. 

“I’m on my own here,” he said.

“I feel quite desperate honestly, because I’m in Dublin three years. That’s my country, I choose this country.

“But if I don’t get accommodation, I have to work in Italy. You know, leave everything, leave my life here… live with my mum again like 24 years ago.”

He said that while he was confident the RTB will rule in the tenants’ favour, “they took too long”.

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