- Created: Monday, 29 October 2012 11:47
- Written by Jimmy Mac
Sarah Counihan-Sanchez aged 15 told a packed public meeting at the Marian Centre in Kilburn on 17October how her family had received a third eviction order from Brent Council and have been ordered to quit their temporary accommodation by 8 November. The family were evicted by Brent Council in April 2012 18 months after they declared £18 a week income from a small plot of land they had inherited in Ireland.
Lesley Ryan of the Irish Centre told the meeting that the land in Ireland has nil value and that Brent Council should have advised the family that they could keep their tenancy open while they went to Ireland to care for their dying grandfather. If Brent had done this the family would not be homeless now. Brent Housing have advised the family of 7 that they should go and live in an empty field in the West of Ireland. Lesley said this would mean that Brent would be moving the family from being homeless in the UK to being homeless in Ireland.
Nicki of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! spoke on behalf of the Counihan Family Campaign saying that the campaign had already shown that it would not be pushed around. The campaign defeated attempts by the police and Brent Council to stop us marching in Kilburn on 6 October. We worked with the help of Liberty to force the police to concede that we had the legal right to march. In the end over 100 supporters marched on the Kilburn high Road singing 'You can’t kick this family out of Brent!' and receiving tremendous support from Kilburn residents.
The Reverend Paul Nicholson told the meeting that this was the most impressive campaign he has seen in 30 years of housing campaigning because of its success in drawing in local people.
The Counihan Family Campaign is also working to support other people suffering from cuts in Brent. We heard from Joseph Frimpong whose family have been evicted by Brent even though his wife is disabled. Anne spoke about her son Daniel Roque Hall who is severely disabled and is being held in Wormwood Scrubs where they cannot treat his condition. Anne told the meeting that the Prison authorities had lied to his Judicial Review saying that Daniel was in Wormwood Scrubs when he was actually mortally ill in UCH hospital and that no-one had even informed Anne. A friend of Joe McPhillips from Willesden told us that he has been refused psychotherapy treatment for his mental health issues and is at risk of suicide.
The Counihan Campaign’s next actions will be protests at Brent Town Hall on 12 November and 21 November. We will have a march from Kilburn tube station on Saturday 1 December calling for Housing for the Counihans and No cuts in Brent!
Counihan Family Campaign