Successful Housing Rights Meeting Held in Bluebell
Last Tuesday [July 17], éirígí held a well-attended public meeting on housing rights and eviction resistance in Bluebell, Dublin 12.
The meeting, which was chaired by éirígí’s Daithí Ó Riain, was addressed by Darren Byrne, a local resident and eviction resistor, and by éirígí councillor Louise Minihan. The meeting took place the evening before Louise was imprisoned in Mountjoy for the ‘red paint protest’ against Mary Harney.
Darren Byrne, who has lived in Bluebell all his life, was the first speaker of the evening. Darren outlined how last month his family were facing eviction from their home of twenty years, because they had fallen behind with mortgage repayments.
Darren outlined his case to the meeting and explained the attempts he had made to negotiate with the bank. Darren also explained the feelings of shame associated with an eviction, and how as a private person he had attempted to keep his problems to himself. However, instead of going quietly into the night and after discussions with his family, friends, and neighbours, Darren decided to stand up and fight back.
To a great applause, Darren recounted how on the 6th of June, the bailiffs were forced to retreat from Bluebell, because they were confronted by over 100 local residents determined to prevent the eviction of his family. This, Darren said, gave him the space needed to re-open negotiations with the bank. Those negotiations are ongoing but Darren is confident that his family will be able to remain in their home, thanks to the stand taken by the community in Bluebell. Darren concluded by calling on anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances to discuss the issue with their family, friends, and neighbours, and to organise protests with the support of their community, in defence of their homes.
The next speaker was Councillor Louise Minihan, who spoke about the importance of communities standing together to resist evictions, and organising to tackle local housing issues.
Louise began by commending the Byrne family and the community in Bluebell for taking a stand against unjust evictions. Louise outlined the importance of a community being organised, so as it is in a position to respond when such situations arise. Louise continued by highlighting other housing issues in the area, including the amount of boarded up council homes, and the growing numbers of families on housing waiting lists.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Minihan said, “Once again the people of Bluebell, have given the rest of the country a lesson it what it means to be a community. Tonight’s meeting has been a great success. This meeting follows on the back of the successful anti-eviction protests here in Bluebell last month. It’s great to be at a meeting like this, where everyone in attendance is determined to stand up and defend their community.
“A plan of campaign has now been put in place, and a number of activities have been organised off the back of tonight’s meeting that will be rolled out over the coming weeks.”