Wrecked Our Homes and Left Us with Nothing
old now, old beyond my years. Exposure to violence, beatings,
abandonment and abuse have scrawled lines on my heart and face
that will never be removed. I am facing the end of my life with
the most terrible memories suffered in city during our ' Tiger'
years. Little did I think that my life would end like this.
always so. It was a spring day in the early Seventies when I
arrived in O'Malley Park with my husband and three children.
It was a wonderful place, for us as young parents and the children.
There was so much to do: we even had cycling outings, fancy-dress
parades and of course bingo. The neighbours were great.
purchased our house from Limerick City Council. It was a great
day: we had never dreamed that owning a house would be possible
for us. Over the years we put in a new kitchen, heating system
and double-glazed windows. We were so proud of it. The children
had a good life there; they completed school, went to college,
got jobs and started their own families.
gradually our lives changed, with a growing level of violence.
Stolen cars and the shattering of windows became the order of
the day. But worse, certain families were targeted, for no apparent
reason, and they faced a routine of horror. Bricks through the
windows, cars reversing into your front garden wall and constant
did I think that it would come to us. We had a mid terrace house,
the house on one side was vacant. That house was broken into
on one Easter Sunday and trashed. It was used for drug parties.
Our neighbour on the other side was attacked the same year:
she had bangers put through her letter box and all her new specially
re-enforced windows broken. After decades together, my neighbour
left. Now our house stood alone between two derelict houses,
one of which was put on fire, threatening our own.
I overheard the children being encouraged to break our windows
and to attack us, I came out to plead with them to leave us
alone. But that did not happen. Shortly after retiring my husband
was pelted with stones. Another time, when I was coming back
from the shop with messages, I was knocked to the ground and
kicked around along with my messages. I was hurt but it was
the laughter of the children doing it that frightened me most.
wall of our front garden was constantly battered with cars,
we had it either rebuilt or repaired six times. For two years
I slept in my clothes just in case I had to leave suddenly during
the night. We became prisoners.
end came. Returning from a rare visit to our grandchildren,
we found our house ransacked. All our medication was floating
in urine in the kitchen sink. The Gardai came but had to leave
quickly as their car was under attack. They never came back.
We begged every local and national politician. I can't say whether
they listened or not, but no one ever did anything. So we left.
In City Hall we were advised that we were still liable for our
now derelict house, but it was uninsurable, so we just handed
in the keys to City Hall.
lady at the council helped us find a place to rent and assured
us that we would qualify for rent allowance but we were not
eligible as we had a house and gave it back to the Council,
and my husband had a small work pension that put us over the
limit. We arrived in our new rented accommodation, after almost
40 years in our own house, with nothing.
far from well, but I still work. I have to. We have never received
any compensation for our home. The last sighting of the home
that I loved was actually on TV. I happened to be watching the
news and saw my house being torn to the ground by some yellow
machine. It tore through my heart. No one said anything or warned
are many like me and my story is not the worst. Some fled their
houses and died shortly afterwards. Some of us, the old neighbours,
still meet in the city just to remind ourselves of the old great
days in O'Malley Park. Everyone has rights - children, the elderly,
those in prison - but we had none.
AND ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
Limerick Leader - Published Date: 23 / 10 / 08