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Pensioner in eviction threat wins bias action

A 74-YEAR-OLD man who was threatened with eviction from his home after he complained too much was discriminated against because of his age, the Equality Tribunal has ruled.

Desmond McGreal was awarded the maximum compensation of €6,349 allowed under the Equal Status Acts after the tribunal held that he had been discriminated against on the grounds of his age.

Mr McGreal, who spent 50 years working in London, returned home to live at Cluid Housing, Tuam -- a sheltered housing scheme -- in 2004 and subsequently raised concerns about fire safety, security and resident committee accounts until 2009, when Cluid sought to evict him.

Mr McGreal acknowledged he had made a significant number of complaints, but denied he did so just for the sake of it. He claimed the reason that he kept raising them was because they were never properly dealt with.

Expert witness to the tribunal Dr Padraic Kenna (of NUIG) said he "had never in his entire career seen an elderly tenant, over 70 years of age, being pursued for ejectment without any investigative procedure whatsoever or without any normal cause".

Cluid argued Mr McGreal was an impossible man to deal with and had made life miserable for the staff. But Equality Officer Elaine Cassidy noted "there was a consistent note of hostility" from Cluid to Mr McGreal.

Mr McGreal could not be reached for comment last night.

Irish Independent