Minister will support sale of city apartments to help tenants avoid eviction

The Shannon Arms apartment complex on Henry Street.

HOUSING Minister Darragh O’Brien has agreed to support a housing agency if they can come to an agreement to purchase the Shannon Arms in Limerick City where up to 150 people are facing eviction.

The Minister’s intervention follows representations from Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea who raised the possibility of the building being purchased from the current owners to allow existing tenants remain in their homes.

“Minister O’Brien agreed that Limerick City and County Council could approach Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) with a view to one of them offering to purchase the Shannon Arms at market value. That process is ongoing now,” Deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Post.

“With the support of the Minister, I am trying to take the Shannon Arms into public ownership. The AHBs would offer to purchase the Shannon Arms from the current owners at market value in order to allow all the tenants to stay in place at the current rent.”

Deputy O’Dea has also sent a test case on behalf of one of the tenants to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to see if the notice to quit is valid and stands up from a legal perspective.

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“The RTB have acknowledged this submission and said it is gone to their legal team,” he explained.

In an earlier Dáil debate, the Limerick TD informed Taoiseach Micheál Martin about the plight of 150 people who are facing eviction from the Shannon Arms apartments on Henry Street.

“The Taoiseach will be aware that these tactics are not only reprehensible and immoral, but highly illegal and reminiscent of the behaviour of the absentee landlords during the great Famine of the 1840s. This is not the 1840s. I ask the Taoiseach whether the Minister for Housing can be requested to assist those people against this modern form of Rachmanism,” he said.

In response, the Taoiseach said he would ask Minister O’Brien to intervene.

“This behaviour is not tolerable and should not be tolerated in this day and age. I will ask the Minister along with the RTB, to intervene,” Mr Martin said at the time.