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What's on Offer Demand Like for Like

Veronica O'Neill - A Case In Point
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Veronica O'Neill loved her home, she had lived there for forty years, during which time she raised her six children sending them all to collage. In her autumn years, Veronica liked to tend to her garden.

Veronica had moved into her home at number 4 Coultry Gardens, Ballymun, Dublin shortly after the house was built in 1966. She was one of the first tenants to by their home in Ballymun from Dublin City Council.

Veronica's home was one of 17 houses in Coultry Gardens, Ballymun when regeneration arrived with promises of better houses and a better life.

However, the new houses built by Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL) were smaller than the existing ones and had no gardens, just a space to park a car by the footpath. Veronica, unlike her neighbours, refused to move. This woman in her eighties enjoyed her garden and wanted "like for like".

BRL knocked all the other houses in Coultry Gardens. The houses either side of Veronicas home were knocked roughly and a JCB was parked in front of number 4. But the intimidation didn't stop there, anonymous and threatening letters were shoved through her letter box and Veronica's windows were broken, something that had never happened to Veronica in her forty years living in Ballymun.

BRL credited this to anti-social behaviour, although a more likely target for such activity, the JCB, was never vandalised.

The media was also used against Veronica.

On 17 September 2006, an article in The Sunday Tribune by Sarah McInerney described the situation as "The single house that's holding up the rebuilding of Ballymun - Family refuses to budge from property on site of massive north Dublin regeneration scheme".

"The house at number four Coultry Gardens in Ballymun was due to be demolished three months ago and is still top of the demolition list today. The only thing stopping the wrecking ball from swinging through the front door is the continued presence of its owner, who quite simply doesn't want to leave".

The article gave the impression that Veronica didn't know what was good for her.

Veronica did. She took BRL and Dublin City Council (DCC) to court. The judge ruled that Veronica was entitled to "like for like". It cost DCC €500,000 to buy Veronica a similar size house with front and back gardens elsewhere in Dublin.

So remember, like Veronica, you're entitled to like for like.

Above: A house in Ballymun similar to Veronica O'Neills home in Coultry Gardens. (photo taken 08/04/09)

Above: Timber frame regeneration boxes with no gardens, similar to the one that Veronica refused. (photo taken 08/04/09)
Above: The site where Veronica's house once stood.
(photo taken 08/04/09)

Click here to read the Sunday Tribune article