The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Geoffrey Cooling • 9 May 2006

In a scene reminiscent of a Famine era tale the Sheriff and his men, ably assisted by a very large number of the local constabulary, as servants of the local landlord, evicted a tenant family in the early hours of the morning - 4am to be precise, but this was not 200 years ago but Friday April 28, 2006 in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The sheriff and his four bailiffs with the assistance of anything up to fifty uniformed gardaí and the further assistance of several members of the armed response unit (with their faces covered) evicted Yvonne O'Rourke and her family from their home of 20 years on behalf of Fingal County Council.

On Friday 21 Yvonne, returning from a short break, discovered an eviction notice at her home. The eviction notice stated that she must vacate her house by 11am on Tuesday April 25. She approached a Councillor friend who runs a club which one of her sons attends. Yvonne approached the Council on Monday to try to find out what was going on and why was she being evicted. She was informed the reason was for rent arrears and the anti-social behaviour of one of her sons. He is a Republican prisoner in Portlaoise, currently on remand and his charges are in no way related to anti-social behaviour. Again I repeat that he is on remand and has not been convicted, it would then seem strange that he was used as an excuse.

The council said that Yvonne O'Rourke had ignored several notices, warnings and indeed court dates. Yvonne is adamant that she received no letters from the council, either in relation to them evicting her or warnings about antisocial behaviour. She did have meetings with them from time to time, and made agreements (which she readily admits she broke) over the last three years when she got behind with her rent due to a variety of circumstances.

Within a short time, with the help of family, friends and neighbours Yvonne was in a position to pay 60% of her rent arrears. She also filled the necessary forms for her rent to be automatically removed from her social welfare payment every week. Over two hundred of her neighbours signed a petition to leave Yvonne and her three sons (the youngest is nine) in the family home. A local councillor met with council officials and pleaded her case but to no avail. The council would accept neither money nor promises of payment and told her even if she paid the full amount they would still evict her.

At this stage Yvonne began to feel uneasy about the whole process as different comments were made to her regarding her sons and the council's insistence that she was being evicted no matter what. She was further alarmed when plain clothes police made themselves very visible in the area and drove in jeeps (the jeeps that monitor protests) taking photographs of her neighbours who were, along with herself and her family, making a peaceful protest on her road. The sheriff came and went but made no attempt to enter her home - due to the presence of her loyal neighbours no doubt. Those same neighbours gathered a petition signed by two hundred of Yvonne's neighbours and presented it to the council in an effort to stay the eviction.

By Tuesday afternoon the council line had changed. They realised that they were going to have to change tactics or Yvonne's neighbours would continue to protect her and her home. They said she was being evicted for anti-social behaviour of one of her sons who was joyriding and serious crime - but not the same son as previously mentioned. They were asked to produce the complaint or proof of this activity but they could do neither. Again I must mention Yvonne says that she has never received correspondence or met with a Council official Pertaining to a complaint of anti-social behaviour from any of her children.

So in the early hours of Friday morning Yvonne was put out of her home. In the midst of the chaos she was asked to sign a document stating that she was willing to leave. This she refused to sign. Her two dogs were removed by individuals from the pound. Yvonne said the level of intimidation in the garden at that hour and in the darkness would have to be seen to be believed. Most of her possessions are in the boarded up house as she has no place to put them.

The council have now taken Yvonne and her family off the housing list for two years, in the meantime the welfare refuse to assist her with rent allowance for private accommodation. She is at her wits end at this stage. She freely admits that she owes rent but vehemently disputes the amount and questions why her son who is in Portlaoise for the last five months is still on the rent. She cannot understand why the substantial amount of cash she has now (thanks to her neighbours and friends) will not be accepted to leave her in her home. Three years ago she actually applied to buy the house but was not accepted due to her low income.

Yvonne believed she gave interviews and photographs of the eviction to the Herald, the Northside People and the Mirror but none have published anything on the eviction. When she rang the Mirror the editor denied he had sent any reporter to her home. Yvonne has since learned that the Department of Justice has taken out an injunction to prevent the story being published.

Yvonne O'Rourke is not the only one who has been evicted by Fingal County Council in the last ten days of April. The numbers could be as high as 20. But she is the only one who had such a contingent of uniformed police, special branch, the helicopter and sniffer dogs accompany the sheriff and his bailiffs. The access roads to Yvonne's home were blocked by balaclava -clad men who would not allow anyone to enter the street while the sheriff was doing his dirty work. It is in this fact that we must ask whose purpose did the eviction of Yvonne O'Rourke serve. Why did a huge contingent of uniformed Gardai and an element of the ERU assist in her eviction? Why then did the Department of Justice gain an injunction to silence the media?

Despite the regulations that the council have published in their own handbook, they never discussed complaints of anti social behaviour with Yvonne. They performed no investigation of the alleged anti social behaviour because Yvonne was never interviewed about such behaviour. They informed Yvonne that the Gardai had informed them that her son was involved in serious crime, there was no evidence given, if they had evidence surely he would have been charged with the alleged crime. They now will not even discuss what the complaints are. It would appear that the machinations of the infamous diplock courts have obviously been well studied by the Fingal County Council.

Yvonne O'Rourke's eldest son has already been subject to an orchestrated smear campaign which thoroughly vilified him in the media. The information was half truths and miss-information obviously fed to several pet reporters by the Gardai to criminalise a Republican. With the Department of Justices hand so obvious in this latest twist it would appear that the smear campaign is far from over and the pressure on the O'Rourke family is to be ramped up a gear.

I would ask any Republican to e-mail Fingal County Council to protest this action taken at the behest of the Gardai against an innocent and well liked member of a Blanchardstown community.







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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
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Index: Current Articles

11 May 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Incorruptible
Anthony McIntyre

Ruarí Ó Brádaigh: Robert White's biography of a Republican idealist
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Can of Worms
John Kennedy

The Wrong Man
Martin Ingram

Gotta Be Cruel to be Kind
Dr John Coulter

Revising the Rising?
Forum Magazine Editorial

Solving the Irish Problem
Michael Gillespie

Geoffrey Cooling

Thank You, Bobby Sands
Fred A. Wilcox

Welcome Back, David. Now, Go Away Again!
Eamon Sweeney

Give Them That Auld Tyme Religion
Dr John Coulter

Meal Ticket
John Kennedy

Examples of Dialogue
Conn Corrigan

Two-State Solution
Mick Hall

Peter King - Still Irish America's Champion
Patrick Hurley

Statements on the Murder of Michael McIlveen
RSF; 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Profile: Chahla Chafiq
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index

18 April 2006

Grave Secrets
Anthony McIntyre

Spoiled Rotten
David Adams

Let Bygones be Bygones
Mick Hall

Urgent Memo — Judas Was One of the Bad Guys!
Dr John Coulter

Cluedo in Donegal
Anthony McIntyre

Easter Message
John Kennedy

Óglaigh na hÉireann Easter Statement
The Sovereign Nation

IFC Easter Statement, 2006
Joe Dillon

Lincoln's Despair
John Kennedy

Fred A. Wilcox

Hamas Being Forced to Collapse
Sam Bahour

Profile: Philippe Val
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



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