By Trevor Quinn
A Mayo councillor has said he fears there will be ‘people camping out in the Mall’ in Castlebar as a result of the Government’s controversial decision to lift the ban on evictions.
Castlebar-based Independent Cllr Michael Kilcoyne told a meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee meeting that Mayo Co Council is one of 17 local authorities that has ‘no emergency accommodation of any kind’.
“Yesterday I dealt with four people who came into my office, all of whom have [eviction] notices, some of them expiring in three weeks’ time who are going to be homeless,” he said. “Eviction is a very serious thing in this country, it’s part of our history, the Brits came in and done it to us and now it’s being done by our own people.
Referring to the Government’s advice that people should go to their local garda station if they are homeless, Cllr Kilcoyne asked Chief Supt Ray McMahon: “Do you have any facilities at the garda station to deal with homeless people – children – who arrive there? Is it a policy of An Garda Síochána that if a family arrives at the garda station that the gardaí contact Tusla if there are small children who have been evicted by the landlord and by whom the local authority has failed to provide accommodation?
“And what accommodation do ye have and how do you propose to deal with this because this is going to be a very serious issue.”
Chief Supt McMahon said the gardaí had no designated emergency accommodation but would try to help people as best they could.
Speaking to theafter the meeting, Cllr Kilcoyne said every support necessary must be provided to people and families who find themselves in such a perilous crisis.
“It’s a very worrying time for families, particularly with small kids. Where are they going to go?
“Mayo County Council used to get rental properties from private landlords, but they are full.
“I think within a few weeks there could be people camped out in The Mall in Castlebar.”
Cllr Kilcoyne said 1,500 to 2,000 people may also be added to the social housing list in Mayo because refugees who are in the county for more than one year are now eligible to register for a home.