A number of months ago Saoradh were contacted by a former Republican Prisoner in Derry City who informed us that he was due to be evicted by the Housing Executive following the death of his brother, who had resided at the same address.
The former political prisoner had attempted to negotiate with the Housing Executive to seek to retain his right to live at the address which has been his home for years.
Having received no response from the Housing Executive regarding the eviction since initial contact was made, the Republican contacted Saoradh for assistance.
After contacting the Housing Executive and arranging a meeting with Gary Campbell, patch manager for the Bogside at the time, we were informed the matter was being looked at carefully. Despite assurances from Gary that he would be dealing with the issue and that he would endeavour to stop the Republican being evicted he avoided our queries. This resulted in Saoradh meeting further representatives from the Housing Executive including Eddie Doherty and a number of union reps.
In those meetings we discussed the ongoing housing issues affecting working class areas, and the attempted eviction of the former Republican Prisoner, making it clear in no uncertain terms that if necessary, Saoradh would take protest action against any attempted evictions.
Since then and over the course of recent months Saoradh have continued to monitor the situation and liaise with both the former Republican Prisoner and the Housing Executive and are happy to announce that the eviction is no longer a concern.
Saoradh representative, Paddy Gallagher had this to say about the issue, ‘’Saoradh held a multitude of meetings with the former Republican Prisoner before contacting the Housing Executive on his behalf. We informed them that if they attempt to evict the Republican then our party members would be on hand to stop this. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and after a protracted process of dialogue, the Housing Executive have decided against evicting a long standing member of our community.
In this day and age the eviction of anyone, particularly a former political prisoners is totally unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen.”
The Bogside is already an area that suffers from a high level of social deprivation, any threat of eviction is not only an attack on the individual but an attack on the entire community.
Saoradh based at Junior McDaid House would also like to thank our communities for their continuing and growing support. We would encourage anyone with any similar concerns to contact your local Saoradh representative or call to our offices at 14 Chamberlain Street.