Family say they are living in a church after being forced out of home by racist attacks

ireland
Family Say They Are Living In A Church After Being Forced Out Of Home By Racist Attacks Family Say They Are Living In A Church After Being Forced Out Of Home By Racist Attacks
On January 12th last, they say a group of youths, at least one of whom was wielding a knife and another a hammer, tried to get into the house
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High Court reporters

A family of six say they have been forced out of their council home by anti-social and racist attacks.

Five of them are now sleeping on the floor of a church while the mother is ill in hospital, the High Court heard.

Amaka Blessing Aigbogoh, her husband Christopher Enoch and their four children, say South Dublin Co Council has refused them temporary emergency accommodation, and they have no option but to remain in the church for as long as they can.

It followed what they said was the latest in a number of attacks on their home at Dromcarra Avenue, Tallaght.

Windows broken

On January 12th last, they say a group of youths, at least one of whom was wielding a knife and another a hammer, tried to get into the house. The attackers struck the front door repeatedly for around 25 minutes, at one point pushing a knife through it, but the family say they managed to keep the assailants at bay.

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Ms Aigboboh, in an affidavit, says she arrived in Ireland in 2005 and has been a tenant of the Dromcarra Avenue house since 2013 with her husband and four children, aged between 12 and 17.

Since then, they have been victims of repeated attacks, most of which were reported to gardaí, she says.

One example was last June when the family car, parked adjacent to their home, was set on fire and destroyed. There had been other attacks where front and back windows of their home had been broken, car side mirrors torn off, and car tyres punctured with nails, she says.

As a result of the January 12th attack, they contacted the council who advised them to vacate the house, and they agreed to do so. When they asked the council where they were to go they were told by an official he would get back to them, but nothing happened.

Suitable accommodation

In the meantime, the house was boarded up by the council and Mr Enoch and the children were accommodated in a local church which they say is patently unsuitable for human habitation. Ms Aigboboh says she is now in hospital following very serious surgery.

Ms Aigboboh contacted the official, and she was told she would have to fill in a transfer application but on January 21st she was told the application was unsuccessful. They sought a review of the decision on January 25th which was later refused. The council advised them to return to their home.

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They were unwilling to do so believing that a return would result in further attacks. Their children have been extremely traumatised by the events, Ms Aigoboboh says.

Repairs

In refusing a transfer, the council said because they already had a tenancy at Dromcarra Avenue, they were not eligible for emergency accommodation and that the council would remove the security shuttering and arrange for repairs for them to return.

Ms Aigboboh says the repairs were caused by "significant anti-social and racist behaviours from which our family suffered".

She says the council "wants us to move back without addressing any of the underlying causes and without any apparent rational scrutiny other than providing formulaic reasons."

She says she is now in hospital following serious surgery while her family remain living in "makeshift shelter" in the church where the landlord has advised them it cannot continue.

Their children's health and psychological well-being has been very adversely affected, she says. They are not able to do their homework properly and are embarrassed about their lack of clothing and washing facilities when they go to school, she says. They live in constant fear of attacks and anxiety about their current shelter, she says.

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They sought, through their solicitor, the documents relating to the refusal of transfer decision, but these were refused.

As a result they have brought proceedings against the council seeking to quash the transfer refusal decision and seeking an injunction directing the council to provide suitable alternative accommodation. They also want declarations they are entitled to see the report carried out by the council into the matter.

On Friday, Mr Justice Charles Meenan granted Conor Power SC, for the family, leave to bring the challenge, on a one side only represented basis. He said the case could come back in a week's time.

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