Bellharbour residents can stay at ‘own risk’

Bellharbour residents can stay at ‘own risk’


Ernst & Young insists residents will not be evicted


The receivers for five properties in Co Clare have said the tenants will not be evicted but if they choose to stay, they do so “at their own risk”.

Residents of Abbey West Cottages in Bellharbour in Co Clare received hand-delivered letters last Tuesday from representatives of receivers Ernst and Young (EY) ‘asking’ them to vacate the dormer style thatched cottages on the edge of the Burren.

Tenants were requested to vacate the five homes by noon on Friday (19th) because of “failing fire safety standards”.

The three families and two individual tenants have said they will not move and are angry that EY planned to evict them just days before Christmas leaving them homeless. The residents have also sought legal advice on the matter.

The residents have claimed they were previously informed that although under receivership, their tenancy was secure and they would be given an opportunity to buy in the near future.

A spokeswoman for EY said however that the tenants were not served with ‘eviction’ notices and are free to stay in the properties “at their own risk.”

Local artist and singer/songwriter Jim McKee said: “They say we can stay here at our own risk. What risk are they talking about? I’ve been here for 11 years and no-one has died. If they are so concerned why haven’t they sent someone to fix things. Why did they give us just 3 days to pack up and move out. I couldn’t pack 11 years of stuff in 3 days and where would I go.”

“All our pre-christmas has been totally consumed by this. It has knocked the heart out of Christmas for me and my son. He’s already packed some of his things in cardboard boxes he’s so worried,” Mr McKee added.

“We weren’t moving anyway but we’re worried what’s going to happen after Christmas. This whole thing has been handled very badly and it’s very upsetting especially at this time of year,” Mr McKee said yesterday (Sunday).

EY partner Marcus Purcell said: “As a result of a standard Health and Safety review carried out, the properties at Bellharbour, were assessed as being unsafe for habitation due to failing fire safety standards.”

“Therefore, for the safety and protection of the occupiers, the receivers had to take the decision, to ask tenants to vacate the properties. The receivers informed occupiers they will fund alternative accommodation and provide additional financial support recognising the difficulties this required action will cause. 

 The receivers did not take this decision lightly, particularly at this time of year, but considered the safety of the occupiers to be the priority,” a statement said.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.