Protesters picket Cork County sheriff’s office over eviction

Protesters defied threats of an injunction yesterday to picket the Cork County Sheriff’s office over the eviction of a family in rent arrears for almost two years, writes Eoin English.

The protest by about a dozen members of the Anti Eviction Taskforce at the city centre office of Sinead McNamara followed her enforcement of an order for repossession of a house in Bantry, in West Cork.

It is understood that the family, who are members of the Traveller community, had been living in the private rented property for up to six years.

However, rent supplement payments stopped two years ago and the landlord took a case to the Residential Tenancies Board and won.

The circuit court subsequently granted an order for repossession, and the order was executed on Tuesday.

It is understood that despite advance notice, and several attempts by the sheriff’s office to encourage the family to engage in the process, they did not make alternative accommodation arrangements.

Ms McNamara declined to discuss the details of the case but said the execution of such orders comes after a long and detailed legal process.

Protesters picket Cork County sheriff’s office over eviction

“It is not pleasant. It never is. It is one of the most difficult parts of this job,” she said.

“In these circumstances, we engage with people to see if they need time to make arrangements.

“We try to do it in as dignified way as possible.

“But there is no nice way or easy way of doing it.

“We don’t wait to add to their pain.

“It is devastating for the people involved.”

The family contacted Cobh county councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla earlier this week asking for help, and he said he asked the sheriff to delay the eviction by a week to allow him time to help the family.

He said he was extremely disappointed that the eviction proceeded.

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