Evicted for Christmas
On 10 March 1993, at the 49th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, the 26 Counties, along with all other participants, adopted a Resolution on Forced Evictions which ``urges governments to undertake immediate measures, at all levels, aimed at eliminating the practice of forced evictions. Also urges governments to confer legal security to all persons currently threatened with forced evictions, based upon effective participation, consultation and negotiations with effective persons or groups.''
At 6.20am on the morning of 5 December, a dozen gardaí, a sheriff and a number of bailiffs assembled outside Michael Devereux's small house in Crumlin, Dublin. They broke down the door with sledgehammer and chainsaw, forced their way in, and 20 minutes later evicted Michael. Another person joined the long list of Dublin's homeless. He is now on the street, with nowhere to go.
Michael was born at 34 Stanaway Avenue in Upper Crumlin, which was the family home. When his parents got old and sick, he came back to live in the house to care for them. Over the 50 years, his family had paid for the house many times over, and yet, when his parents died, the corporation refused to assign him the tenancy or to sell him the house. Instead, he was served with an eviction notice early last November.
Since that day, Michael has lived on tenterhooks, waiting for the sheriff to come. He visited the Corporation many times to attempt negotiation, or to at least get alternative accommodation. The Corpo Housing Department refused.
Distraught, hoping to defend his house, he missed many days at work. Yesterday (Tuesday), after the early morning eviction, he returned to the job to find he has probably lost that too.
Sinn Féin represenattive Aengus Ó Snodaigh (pictured here with Michael) says: ``There was even an attempt to stop the Corpo evicting Michael with an emergency resolution at the council meeting on Monday evening last. But for an emergency resolution three quarters of the councillors must support it. They didn't. It failed to pass. The behaviour of the councillors is reminiscent of the old days of rack renting landlords. No human being should be treated in this way.
``What I find especially enraging is that many people, filled with nauseating propaganda, blame the refugees for the housing shortage in this town. They blame those people who have suffered the most dire circumstances, which have forced them to leave their own country.They don't think of who is really to blame, or why there are 50,000 households on the state's housing list. They don't ask why the Corporation hasn't met the housing needs in Dublin or why the government allows developers to hold building land idle while the sale price of development land grows week by week.