Over a hundred families are being evicted from a Dublin estate after Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs ordered the estate cleared following a purchase of the loan underlying the development.
Around three weeks ago tenants renting homes in the Cruise Park estate of Tyrrelstown began receiving letters informing them they had to leave. They were given between two and six months to vacate their homes.
The Goldman Sachs vulture fund, Beltany Property Finance, purchased the loan that was secured on the development of 103 homes and over 153,000 square feet of commercial property by the developers.
In December 2014, the developers, along with a company called European Property Fund (EPF), failed in an application for an injunction to stop Ulster Bank from selling the loan.
Residents of the estate last night told of their shock and anger after receiving the notice to leave their homes by Twinlite, the construction company that built the estate and had been managing the rentals.
Grzegorz Szkutnik and his wife Iwona have been living in their home for the last eight years. They have two very young children, Lena and David, aged two years and two weeks respectively.
“Everybody is angry about this. I have taken advice and I am not leaving here,” said Mr Szkutnik.
Mr Szkutnik said he is paying almost fifteen hundred euro a month in rent and is facing homelessness as he can’t find alternative accommodation in the area for less than two thousand.
A number of other large-scale evictions have taken place quietly around the country in recent years. However, some tenants have lived in the Tyrrelstown development for over 10 years.
Sinn Fein Dublin West councillor Paul Donnelly said he would seek an emergency discussion of the issue at Fingal county council’s monthly meeting on Monday.
He called on the company to “to assure their tenants that they will not move to evict anyone who cannot find alternative accommodation” and help those who are at risk of homelessness.
So far dozens of families have been served with notices to quit, with times varying from between one month and 112 days, depending on how long they have been there.
Approximately 100 people attended a meeting of residents in Tyrrelstown tonight, according to AAA-People before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.
She said an action group called the Tyrrelstown Tenants Action Group was established and made up of people who are directly affected by the matter as well as others in the community who wish to provide support.
Ms Coppinger said said the residents who had received letters should not leave. “There can’t be people forced out of the area,” she said. She added so many families moving would mean the “break-up of a community”.
US vulture funds have been accused of engaging in a number of corrupt transactions to secure cut-price deals on Irish property portfolios, mainly through NAMA, the state-run agency which took over ownership of the assets of insolvent developers following the economic collapse of 2008.
Patrick Bresnihan of the Dublin Tenants’ Association said government policy had facilitated vulture funds “at every turn, without any research being conducted into the impacts of international funds on the Irish housing system”.
Meanwhile, it has been a good week for those accused of wrongdoing in the economic collapse in the latest developments in a series of probes and trials which so far have produced only suspended or overturned sentences. Two former figures in Anglo Irish Bank were freed from prison last Tuesday after their fraud convictions were overturned on appeal.
And the infamous former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm walked free from police custody barely a day after his extradition from the US. A judge said the prosecution’s concern of him being a flight risk did not hold up. He is expected to face fraud charges in 2017 or 2018.