I wish to forward a statement by Gerry Downing from UNITE during the month of July. Updated news will be produced in due course.
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
I wish to highlight the plight of the Counihan family, Isabel and Anthony and their five children, Vinnie, Aidan, AJ, Orla and Sarah have been shunted out of the Brent to temporary housing in Ealing where they have been left since April 2012 waiting for the Council to even make a decision on their situation, let alone re-house them in Brent. A 25-strong picket brought their plight at the Brent Council Executive meeting on 16th July. Of course the shortage of affordable housing in the borough is all the fault of the bad Mister Cameron, they object but a Labour Council must attempt to mobilise the workers and Labour party members to fight these attacks.
Brent Council have not only washed their hands of the family - they have begun to persecute them to drive them out. They did not tell them they had an option to remain council tenants when they moved to Ireland in 2009 and placed them in Priory Road NW6 at £690 per week when they had to return a year later. They paid £230 per week of this rent and HB the rest.
In 2010 Anthony inherited 9.5 acres in Galway from his late father. The land has no planning permission and attempts to sell it failed. They rented it to a local farmer for €1,200 per year, which they immediately declared to the Council.
How 'foolish' they were to tell the truth it turned out - only corrupt and lying bankers, press barons, police chiefs and fraudulent expenses-claiming politicians can prosper in Cameron's Britain!
Brent initially accepted the €1,200 as income but then declared the land as 'asset', cut all HB and sent them a bill for almost £70,000, later reduced to £46,000. They were evicted and put in a house in Ealing at £500. Three of the five children have developed severe stress related problems and the latest outrage has prompted Anthony to write to Perry Singh, the Brent Housing officer:
"Our youngest child who has Autism has now had his Statement of Educational needs sent to Ealing & he is a Brent child. My wife is now on Valium from her doctor. We have been in limbo now for 7 months how is anyone meant to cope with this ongoing stress?
We would have fallen a long time ago if it wasn't for the support from The London Irish Centre (Lesley Ryan) & various others supporting us including my workers union. Do you expect me to pay £500 a week rent went I barely make £400 a week driving a bus. (A key worker in Brent, London). What are you trying to do to my family, a decision has been coming for 2 months now and were still waiting."
We ask you to join us in supporting the Counihans and invite other people facing similar injustices to come forward and challenge together the vicious policies and practices of the council.
Council Leader Butt met Anthony and Leslie Ryan from the Irish Advisory Centre after the Executive meeting and agreed to examine the case personally. We hope he will be of more help than the Council has been up to now.
Sincerely Gerry Downing