Thursday 16 August 2018

Pregnant woman (23) faces homelessness this Christmas after losing home following complaints from neighbours

Zoe Byrne pictured leaving the Four Courts
Zoe Byrne pictured leaving the Four Courts

Ray Managh

A 23-year-old pregnant woman, who made life intolerable for her neighbours due to her antisocial lifestyle, has lost her local authority home on the direction of a judge.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane said the behaviour of Zoe Byrne, Pearse Street, Sallynoggin, Co Dublin, was “nothing short of a disgrace” and granted Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council a possession order that will leave Byrne homeless this Christmas.

She said in the Circuit Civil Court that Byrne was only 10 days in her attractive, modern apartment at No 50 Pearse Street when the first complaint of neighbours started to arrive at the County Council offices.

The judge said she was sure there were plenty of people on the council’s waiting lists who would only be too glad to have a home like the one Ms Byrne had been given and who were prepared to live peaceably with their neighbours.

Judge Linnane said Byrne had made herself homeless by her behaviour with all-night-long parties where party-goers kept up a constant din of shouting, jumping and loud music which meant the neighbours could not sleep.

She said two of Byrne’s neighbours, one of whom suffered from MS and had four children to look after, had told the court life was intolerable following Byrne’s arrival.

Byrne had been taken before the District Court where the judge, despite having heard a litany of anti-social activities, had given her a last chance following an undertaking to the court that she would change her ways.

Liam O’Donovan, a manager in the council’s housing department, said Byrne had not lived up to her word and had received visits and written warnings about her behaviour. On one occasion armed gardaí had to be called to Byrne’s home to remove a man who had no right to be there.

Judge Linnane told barrister Liam O’Connell, counsel for the local authority, that it was quite clear there had been a litany of disturbances caused by Ms Byrne’s drunken parties and unbearable noise into the early hours of the morning.

The judge said Ms Byrne had appealed a decision of the District Court which had granted the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown council a possession order after she had breached the undertaking she had given earlier.

Barrister Marc Murphy, counsel for Ms Byrne, told the court the appeal had been brought on the grounds the granting of a possession order was disproportionate. He said the consequences of a dismissal of Ms Byrne’s appeal would be devastating for her and wold be making her homeless.  He asked for an adjournment to allow her demonstrate that she had changed for the better.

“A sad feature of this case is that it has taken a long time for the penny to drop for Ms Byrne,” he said.

Ms Byrne told the court she had a drugs and drink problem but was now staying away from them and had mended her ways.  She realised that she was facing homelessness if her appeal was dismissed.

Refusing Byrne’s appeal and refusing to grant her a stay before the possession order takes effect, Judge Linnane said the local authority had done everything they possible could to help Ms Byrne who had also allowed rubbish to build up to the extent it had attracted an infestation of rats. Because of this a neighbour had been unable to allow her children out to play.

“I have no doubt there are many other people urgently awaiting housing who would jump at the opportunity for accommodation as rented to Ms Byrne and who would be quite willing to get on with their neighbours,” the judge said.  

Judge Linnane said she had seen photographs of the apartment rented to Ms Byrne and it was in a relatively modern building of a lovely design and with balconies and a garden that Ms Byrne had rendered useless to her neighbours.

The judge refused to grant Byrne a stay and made an order for costs against her.

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