Cork apartment complex residents face homelessness after mass eviction notice

Residents in an apartment building on the northside of Cork city say they are facing homelessness after being served a mass eviction notice.

Five apartments in a building on the Old Youghal Road will be affected by the notice. Residents have been told the evictions are the result of a planned refurbishment of the building and they must leave the premises by July 19.

According to the tenants, the notice has left them facing the prospect of homelessness.

Brendan Keane has lived in the complex for five years.

He said he arrived home to find a notice to leave his apartment pinned to his door. He was given the legal amount of notice but said that he has nowhere else to turn.

"I know that [the landlord] has his rights to sell the building but there is no rights for any of us," Mr Keane said.

I have been told to go to a Cork Simon shelter or St Vincent's. That's not a choice I should have to make. Our backs are against the wall; my life has been turned upside down.

Mr Keane said that other tenants have lived in the building longer than he has, while some also have children to consider.

"It is soul-destroying. It makes me feel angry. Every day is one day closer to it - I don't know what is around the corner for me; the reality is homeless shelter," he said.

The Old Youghal Road residents' plight comes less than two months after Cork City Council and housing agency Clúid intervened to buy Leeside Apartments in the city centre.

The residents there had been told they would be evicted and turned to mass protests to prevent it from happening.

The 59 apartments which had remained vacant for almost two years in the building are to be filled from next week. They have already been allocated as social housing and Aimee O'Riordan, a spokesperson for the Leeside residents, said they are backing the Old Youghal Road residents.

Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan and local election candidate Carol Brogan have organised a protest to take place on Monday May 13 in the Dillon's Cross area at 5pm to raise the issue of the Old Youghal Road tenants.

"It's an emergency and there are very few options for people," she said. "Our message is to stand and fight: do not let yourself be made homeless," Ms Ryan said.

Once again, it is renovations being cited: it is a widely exploited loophole. There are no health and safety issues at play here. These renovations could be done with the tenants in situ - and they would be more than happy with that.

Ms Brogan added: "We are going to petition the area to raise awareness of the issue. We know there are a lot of renters in the area and we know that they will sympathise."

Letting agency Choices, which manages the building, confirmed that notices to quit had been issued.

In a statement, it said: "We can confirm the Estate of the late Tom Morrissey (deceased) has issued notices to quit to the residents.

"Due to GDPR legislation, we are not in a position to comment. However, any tenant who has a grievance can refer the matter to Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) We cannot make any further comment on this matter."

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