A man fighting eviction from his dead mother’s council house said he is living in fear of becoming homeless.
Gary Doocey, 42, said he is in “dire straits” and will have nowhere to live if Cork City Council is granted a possession order on what has been his family’s home for decades.
“This has been our home for 51 years,” Mr Doocey said. “Officials need to take a serious look at their legislation. I’ve been on the housing list for eight-and-a-half years and have never been made an offer.
“I have serious medical problems, I’m on disability, I’m an epileptic and they’ve done nothing. It’s an absolute disgrace.
“I have no idea where I will go. I feel disgusted, depressed, I’m on medication for stress, and it’s not doing my health any good.”
Gary, who lived abroad for several years, said he returned to the family’s council home at Mount Nebo Avenue, Gurranabraher, on the city’s northside, in February 2016 to help care for his mother, Marie.
Marie, whose name was on the council rent book, died on March 27 after a long illness.
Gary said even though his name was never on the rent book, he has been paying rent to the council since his mother’s death.
He also said he has spent thousands of euro over the last few months on improvements to the property, which he said was riddled with damp.
But one of this brothers, Patrick, told Cork’s RedFM yesterday that Gary wasn’t telling the full story.
“He was not looking after our mother. He was just up in the house, using the house as his own house. He had no time or respect for our mother whatsoever. All he was doing all day long was lying in bed in the box room watching TV,” he said.
Gary rejected his brother’s claims and accused him of being “bitter and spiteful”.
Despite the family split, Gary has gathered signatures from almost 80 neighbours supporting his case.
Cork county councillor, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, has invited neighbours to attend a rally in the estate on Friday to highlight Gary’s plight.
Cork City Council said it can’t comment on individual cases but a spokesperson said there are clear local authority policies and procedures in place around tenancy succession.
In legal documents seen by the Irish Examiner, the council sets out the grounds for its application to the district court for a possession order under section 17 of the Housing Act 2004.
The local authority says that it has always been the full owner of the house, and that under the terms of a 1999 tenancy agreement, it transferred the property by lease to Marie Doocey.
It alleges that following the death of Ms Doocey, its tenant, Gary Doocey took up residence of the property without having any entitlement to do so, that he has and continues to trespass on the property, and has refused or neglected to “desist from such unlawful activities” despite requests to do so.
The council says Mr Doocey is occupying the property without its consent, and that he is not entitled to become a tenant of the property “as a consequence of the death of the former tenant”.
The case is listing for hearing in court in early June.
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