Garda review of Berkeley Road eviction not enough

Senator Marie Sherlock
16 August 2020

-Government must also act on thuggish security groups.

 
Speaking after the announcement review of Garda conduct at the eviction on Berkeley Road on July 12th, Labour party Senator in Dublin Central Marie Sherlock said “the review by An Garda Síochána is   welcome but it cannot be an end in itself. This review must produce a clear community policing code of conduct to cover future eviction situations. This is critical to maintaining public confidence in community policing in the inner city and beyond. So much work has been put into developing community policing in Dublin in recent years and this must not be undermined.”

“The eviction last week was wrong on so many levels. It starkly showed the inadequacy of existing residential tenancies legislation and its weakness in protecting law abiding tenants. There is little or no protection for a tenant who continues to pay their rent to a landlord who in turn is in dispute with a lender.

“The eviction was wrong as it sought to make up to nine persons homeless in the middle of a pandemic. Ironically, this eviction would not have been legally possible 10 days earlier as the Government moved to lift the eviction ban for certain categories of tenants on August 2nd.

“Lastly, it showed the complete absence of regulation surrounding who can undertake evictions in this country. The licensing of certain security services is tightly regulated in Ireland under the Private Security Authority. However, this does not extend to eviction enforcement. The eviction on Berkeley Road appeared to bear all the hallmarks of modern day mercenaries and their apparent acts of wanton criminal damage to the tenants’ possessions is deeply worrying.

Senator Sherlock continued, “The Government must not be left off the hook on this incident. More evictions over future weeks and months are unacceptably, but entirely, predictable. What must not be predictable is the thuggish conduct of security companies engaged in evicting tenants from properties.

“These issues are not new and they are not going away. There was thuggish activity by security persons in securing an eviction in North Frederick Street in September 2018 and it was also a feature of the eviction near Strokestown in County Roscommon in December 2018.

 

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