Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Order for eviction of couple can be sent to sheriff , judge says

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014
The Irish Times
by Ronan McGreevy, Ray Managh

An order for the eviction of a couple from the home they have lived in for 15 years can be sent to the County Sheriff for execution, a judge has said.

Ms Justice Jacqueline Linane in the Circuit Civil Court said Martin (73) and Violet (61) Coyne had repeatedly failed to comply with orders to vacate their rented home in Carpenterstown, Dublin and were in contempt of court.

ACC Bank is seeking possession of the home because the landlord Daragh Ward went into receivership in 2012 and they want to sell the house to reduce his debt.

Ms Justice Linnane said an order for vacation of the property had been first made in September 2013. She had made her own order on March 27th and Mr Coyne had given a sworn undertaking to vacate the property when he came before the court on June 25th.

She said the High Court had also refused a stay on her order as there was no legal grounds for it.

Mr Coyne told the court that he had made the sworn statement in “good faith”, but he had been unable to find alternative accommodation through Fingal County Council.

He said he and his wife had not been “sitting on our arses” doing nothing since the sworn statement had been made, but they lacked the money to seek alternative accommodation.

He also stated that he always attempted to pay the rent of €800 a month, but the rent cheques kept being returned.

Mrs Coyne’s brother Fred Molloy asked the judge to adjourn the case until the end of August where they hoped to have legal representation through the Legal Aid Board. He said Mrs Coyne was very seriously ill and the couple were left with a choice between being on the side of the road or in Mountjoy Prison.

Counsel for ACC Bank Stephen Byrne said it had not been to correct to state that no attempt to find alternative accommodation had been found for the couple.

Mr Byrne said the court had made Mr Coyne on all occasions fully aware of the situation and what he faced if he did not vacate the premises.

He said Mr Coyne had gone to the media about his situation and not all that had appeared had been factual. “The court has afforded extensive indulgences in explaining the situation to Mr Coyne and the Receiver has engaged in extensive efforts to assist him getting up Fingal County Council’st housing list to get him alternative accommodation,” he said.

“This is a case of deliberate and conscious contempt of a court order and the application to commit to prison is not one the Receiver takes lightly or takes any satisfaction in,” Mr Byrne said.

Mr Byrne stated that the refusal of the Coynes to move out means that the landlord’s debts were increasing month by month.

Ms Justice Linnane told ACC Bank that they could go ahead with getting the County Sheriff to execute the order to vacate the premises.

She adjourned the contempt of court hearing until August 27th.

A number of supporters of the Coyne couple started a protest against their possible eviction outside the Four Courts today.