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Thursday 17 October 2019

City eviction protesters erect tent city outside offices of 'vulture fund'

Abu Salem Achy, a member of the Dublin Renters’ Union, in a tent outside the Molesworth Street offices of Val Issuer DAC. Photo: Collins
Abu Salem Achy, a member of the Dublin Renters’ Union, in a tent outside the Molesworth Street offices of Val Issuer DAC. Photo: Collins

Tenants facing eviction were among dozens of protesters who set up a 'tent city' outside the offices of a so-called vulture fund company in Dublin yesterday.

Protesters temporarily erected tents outside the offices of Val Issuer Designated Activity Company (DAC) on Molesworth Street to highlight what they say are the mass evictions of about 50 families living in properties owned by the private equity firm.

Loopholes

Tenants from properties on South Richmond Street in Portobello, as well as in Inchicore and Dun Laoghaire, say they are being evicted due to legal loopholes in current legislation - such as one that allows the landlord to issue eviction notices in order to refurbish properties.

Some of the protesters attended the public gallery at Leinster House, where People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett questioned Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on what he said are "renovictions".

Afterwards, he and a number of activists held a mock ribbon-cutting ceremony to the 'tent city', which they called "our version of a Fine Gael housing development".

Despite the demonstration's tongue-in-cheek tone, housing activist Siomha Ni Aonghusa said the issue is serious and families facing eviction fear they will become homeless due to the housing crisis.

"There is a huge anger behind vulture funds. We feel the campaign is gathering real momentum," she told the Herald.

The protest follows a similar one held outside the same offices last week.

Tenants from Rosedale Terrace, south Richmond Street and Grove Park in Rathmines were protesting against eviction notices issued to over 50 families by Val Issuer DAC.

The residents fear they will be made homeless if Val Issuer DAC is successful in appealing a ruling by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) which found the eviction notices invalid.

Rosedale Terrace tenant Ramon Cernuda (41) said he believes the evictions are being used to replace existing tenants with those who can pay two or three times current rents.

Peter Dooley, from the Dublin Renters' Union, said current landlord-tenant legislation is not strong enough to protect tenants from being evicted.

He said a common tactic is a claim from a landlord that tenants need to vacate a premises in order for 'substantial refurbishment' to be carried out.

Yet once the eviction is put in place, there is never any follow-up to see that such 'refurbishment' actually took place, he added.

Val Issuer DAC could not be reached for comment.

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