People did not need to squat

PEOPLE did not need to squat because there were so many houses lying empty in Craigavon.

That was the view of the Resident Magistrate at Craigavon court in 1978.

He was dealing with the latest batch of squatting cases brought by the Housing Executive.

Imposing nominal fines he said he could not see why people had to take them illegally when they should have been able to arrange transfers through the Executive.

One man, accused of squatting, was said to have taken possession of a house at Legahory Court after his former home on the same estate had been fumigated three times because of fleas.

Another man blamed the breakdown of his marriage on the conditions of a house in Ridgeway.

He had only become reconciled with his wife after squatting in another house on the same estate with his two children aged three years and 11 months.

A third defendant, a housewife, said she had moved from Belfast to live with a niece in Ardowen.

She found herself on the street after a row with her niece’s husband and had to squat in a house at Rathmore.

The RM remarked that while he had every sympathy with the plight of the defendants they could not jump the housing queue.