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'We're officially homeless', say evicted couple

The pensioners evicted from their rented home of 15 years have registered themselves as homeless.

Martin Coyne (73) and his 61-year-old wife Violet went to Fingal County Council's housing department to fill in the necessary forms.

They had lived at their home in Luttrell Park Drive, Carpenterstown, west Dublin, for a decade-and-a-half. The property was at the centre of court proceedings over their refusal to leave.

The couple were evicted in an early-morning swoop by bailiffs.

"We are officially marked as homeless and that is precisely what we are. We have registered as homeless," Martin told the Herald.

HOSTEL

The council offered them accommodation in a hostel in the city centre but the couple turned it down as it was not suitable. It amounted to "giving someone an umbrella but it's full of holes", Martin said.

The couple spent Wednesday night at a friend's house but were unsure whether they could continue to stay there.

"We never failed to pay rent (in their old home). It started off as €1,140 a month, then it went down to €900 and then €800," Martin said.

He and Violet shared the Luttrell Park house with two of their sons, aged 34 and 31, who are unemployed. Martin worked in construction before retiring and he and his wife live on an old age pension of €363 a week.

"We were put to the pin of our collar but we did it and we never reneged (on rent)," Martin said.

There were tense scenes on Luttrell Park after security personnel for the receiver refused for more than an hour to let the couple enter.

A large crowd gathered and gardai were called following heated confrontations.

Friends of the couple were eventually allowed entry to gather belongings, which were removed in a van, after negotiations between the couple, the receivers and the security personnel.

Bailiffs struck at 7.30am on Wednesday while Martin was out buying cigarettes. Violet had to leave the property without having the time to get dressed properly.

Their house was being repossessed from their landlord by the mortgage lenders, ACC Bank. The couple appeared before the Circuit Court later in the day for failing to vacate the property on previous occasions.

EMERGENCY

A Fingal County Council spokeswoman said: "Emergency accommodation was offered to the applicants in line with the availability and was suitable to their needs."

Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger said outside the court that the Coynes were now "homeless".

"There is nowhere for them to go. Tonight they will probably stay with family or friends. We're going to have to approach the council tomorrow to see if we can get emergency accommodation," she said.

Circuit Court judge Ms Justice Jacqueline Linnane said in July that the order for the eviction could be sent to the County Sheriff for execution.

ACC Bank is seeking repossession of the home because the landlord went into receivership in 2012.

comurphy@herald.ie


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