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angry and upset Homeless families who claim they were given two days notice to quit Ballymun hotel hold protest

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Protestors outside council offices today after 'unfair' eviction notices

Protestors outside council offices today after 'unfair' eviction notices

Local People Before Profit politician Conor Reddy at today's protest

Local People Before Profit politician Conor Reddy at today's protest

Jennifer (left) and her sister Jessica were protesting this morning

Jennifer (left) and her sister Jessica were protesting this morning

Ciara was told on Tuesday that she had to leave her accommodation on Thursday

Ciara was told on Tuesday that she had to leave her accommodation on Thursday

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Protestors outside council offices today after 'unfair' eviction notices

Families using a North Dublin hotel for emergency accommodation have been protesting today outside local council offices after they claimed they were given just two days’ notice to leave. 

While some families have moved out of the Travelodge hotel in Ballymun several others are “making a stand” and are refusing to go.

They say they were offered alterative accommodation by the council after a contract with the hotel operators ended but they don’t want to go as it will take them and their children out of the local area where some of them are firm.

Speaking to sundayworld.com at the protest today, Conor Reddy, the People Before Profit representative for Dublin north, who has been working with the tenants this week “to make sure they get what they need”, gave us the background to the story.

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Local People Before Profit politician Conor Reddy at today's protest

Local People Before Profit politician Conor Reddy at today's protest

Local People Before Profit politician Conor Reddy at today's protest

“On Tuesday of this week a group of residents here in the Travelodge in Ballymun got phone calls from the city council’s housing supports section telling them that the contract with the hotel was going to be terminated.

“This is part of a process of City Council pulling out a private hotels for homeless accommodation, which on the surface sounds like a good thing, but in practice it’s really not.

“The women were told that they (had to be out) by Thursday of this week.

"You can understand how this would make people afraid and worried.

"All these people have their roots here in the community in Ballymun, with kids in local schools and their jobs are here.

“Moving them to Coolock or Clontarf would mean significant disruption to their lives and more chaos for people who are already suffering.

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“A lot of people have been here (in the hotel) for two to three years and that tells the story itself.

"Ballymun has changed very quickly; we have a big shopping centre site across the road, empty student accommodation over here, so there’s plenty of room in Ballymun to build housing and to solve the housing needs.”

Mr Reddy added: “We're here today outside the council because officials have denied down to the ground that these women were asked to leave on short notice.

"You can hear about the hardship and the fear that this has caused.

"But we’ve also seen over the last couple of days how they got together, joined a tenants’ union and they’re confident now that they can get their needs better met by the council.”

Mr Reddy said there were “seven or eight families that are staying put and then there's a couple of individuals in there too, disabled people in wheelchairs”.

“The best resolution to this problem is that they are housed in proper permanent, forever homes,” he added.

“Now, that can't happen completely overnight so we want to find something that meets the individual needs of all the people here. Ideally, that would be local and would be spacious enough to accommodate families and to meet all their needs.

One resident who gave her name as Jennifer lives in the hotel with her boyfriend and three year old son.

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Jennifer (left) and her sister Jessica were protesting this morning

Jennifer (left) and her sister Jessica were protesting this morning

Jennifer (left) and her sister Jessica were protesting this morning

“This week we received calls on Tuesday, at half nine, telling us the contract was ending on June 15 and that we were being transferred to Coolock or Clontarf.

“When I asked when did we have to leave, I was told by Thursday. I was told our stuff had to be out of the hotel by Sunday.

"I said I wasn’t leaving because it was too far and that my son’s school was just here, around the corner. I was then told that if I was going to stay that I was at risk of being put in a worse place and even further away.”

Jennifer’s sister Jessica said she was concerned for her, “as she is a strong minded person but that this broke her down”.

“For anybody, even if you’re renting a house, you’re automatically entitled to at least two weeks’ notice,” she said.

“These were given literally two days. I’m concerned for her. I’m concerned for her well-being. It takes an awful lot out of one person and she’s thinking of her three year old boy. It’s not right for any child. As far as he’s concerned that’s his home.

"He’s been taken out of his school, away from the rest of his family and put somewhere that’s strange to him.”

Jennifer said she hoped they would be allowed to stay in the Travelodge. “We would be delighted with that, because that our home for now,” she said. “And if not, we need to go somewhere local.”

Ciara who is originally from Ballymun, is also a resident in the Travelodge.

“I was given notice on Tuesday that I had to leave by Thursday, so two days’ notice,” she said. “I’m living there with my six-year-old daughter. I’ve been two years stuck in one room and now I’m in a panic, emotional, and under a lot of stress.

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Ciara was told on Tuesday that she had to leave her accommodation on Thursday

Ciara was told on Tuesday that she had to leave her accommodation on Thursday

Ciara was told on Tuesday that she had to leave her accommodation on Thursday

“I felt like we were bullied into this.

"We weren’t given enough time and we were threatened that if we didn't take (what was being offered) we would be moved further away from our child’s school, which is just across the road here.

“We could be moved over to Tallaght on the Southside and that would mean two bus journeys to get the child to school. We’re being taken out of our community and the mothers here are all under a lot of stress..

“We had to break the news to our kids that they had to be up and gone within two days, leaving something of a home we had created for them.

“It’s a horrible situation to be in. If my daughter has to move it’s going to affect her education even more. She’s already been breaking done in school, upset. This affects their day to day living and how they are. We need better support and to be left in our community, where our support groups are, where were from and what we know. We’re not going to be taken away from that.”

Dublin City Council said it is a “strong objective of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and the council to reduce the reliance on commercial hotels for the provision of emergency accommodation”.

“ Very good progress has been made on this objective over the last 15 months with the number of families in such emergency accommodation at its lowest level since 2015,” the council stated. “Commercial hotels were used only when there were no supported alternative accommodation available.

One of the few remaining hotels in use is the Travel Lodge in Ballymun which has provided vital emergency accommodation for over three years when it was most needed. It is a positive development that the DRHE/DCC are now in a position to offer better and more suitable accommodation to all of the remaining homeless households in this hotel.

“The Dublin Region Homeless Executive intends to cease use of the Travel Lodge Hotel in Ballymun for emergency accommodation for families from June 15. The DRHE now has vacancies in a number of hub facilities on the Northside where families will have access to a broad range of facilities and onsite supports to support them to move out of homelessness.

“We can categorically state that no household is under pressure to move immediately- (nobody is being evicted and nobody was told that they had to vacate within a very short of time) and they can contact us directly to discuss what they need.

“There is no pressure on anyone to vacate the Travel lodge immediately and they can remain in the property up until the 15th June if they so wish.”

They added: “Each household has notified us of their preferences and we will be working with families over the coming weeks to ensure their needs are met.”

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