A FAMILY FROM Limerick City slept under a bridge after being evicted from their home over the weekend.
John Johnson, 54, cried and explained that he and his children were left “on the street” last Saturday after bailiffs called his home in Assumpta Park.
The family said they had been unable to find emergency shelter due to a lack of available sleeping places.
‘I have three sons who live with me and one of their friends. The bailiffs came Saturday morning and told us to get out of the house, ”Johnson said, wiping away the tears.
“I asked if they would give us an hour and they said no, they would give us half an hour. They said we were going and that was it. “
“I asked them what happened to Covid-19 and they said we had to go and they were just doing their job. They told us to get out of the house. “
“We have left and have nowhere to go, we are on the street. It’s ridiculous, especially with the pandemic. “
Johnson claimed that bailiffs carried a battering ram but did not use it because he let them in when they called around 9am last Saturday.
“I have worked in the hospitality industry my whole life, participated in a community employment plan for three years and got another job in a pub. I was there for a week and it closed due to covid, ”said Johnson.
“I am entitled to the weekly covid payment, but I have not received it for two weeks.”
“I’ve never been in this situation, it’s heartbreaking. I’ve worked all my life. “
Johnson said his only current option was to “walk the street.”
He and his sons David and Adam (both 29), as well as David’s girlfriend Debbie Moloney (36), sat wrapped in blankets under the Sarsfield Bridge Saturday and Sunday evening.
They slept a stone’s throw from where John’s brother Jimmy died of suicide in the River Shannon ten years ago.
“It has been very tough, my mother Rita also went into the river. Jimmy went in first and my mother couldn’t take it and she went in. My cousin Ross went into the river too, ”he shouted.
“I’m freezing. I don’t know what to do. My heart broke,” he added.
Last February, the Supreme Court ruled that a financial fund was entitled to own possession of Johnson’s house on the basis of a “lifetime” mortgage obtained by Johnson’s father Larry eight years before his death in 2015.
Johnson’s late father had taken out a “lifetime” or “reverse” mortgage in 2007 as a condition of obtaining a $ 52,700 loan.
However, John Johnson said he cannot afford to settle the loan.
‘It is my father’s house, our childhood home for the past 60 years. My father had Alzheimer’s disease and I took care of him for the last five years of his life. “
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The Johnsons claimed they felt “intimidated” because the bailiffs wore dark clothes, wore hats and masks, and dipped the property, clothing, beds, and furniture in bleach.
Independent city councilor Frankie Daly said he was trying to help find housing for the family.
“I hate that, in the midst of a pandemic, a vulnerable man and his family have been left to sleep under a bridge,” said Cllr Daly.
“I have been in contact with the homeless action team (of the Council). Over the weekend, (the Johnsons) have struggled to contact emergency number. There is a resource problem there and I think we need more funding to accommodate people in hotels. “
The family was in talks with Limerick City and County Council yesterday to try to find emergency shelters.
A spokesman for Limerick City and County Council replied that the local government “does not comment on individual cases as it does not believe in discussing a client’s personal affairs in a public forum.”
However, they confirmed that the Board has been dealing with the family and that “a review of the customer has now taken place”.
“The current situation with Covid-19 has been a challenge for homeless care provision, but the Limerick Homeless Action Team is working to create space for all presenters,” said the spokesman.
According to the latest figures, there were 2,654 people on the waiting list of the municipality.
There were 128 persons and 30 families who had access to homeless care locally.