Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Coffins in garden family facing eviction

Mother of two Christina Quinn believed she was doing no more than getting into the spirit of Halloween when she decided to decorate the front of her council house.



But council officials in Athlone, Co Westmeath, took fright at the display and have served an eviction notice on Mrs Quinn.



After years of apparently turning a blind eye to Mrs Quinn's efforts, local bureaucrats have been accused of taking "extreme" reaction.



Skeletons



The colourful diorama, which includes plastic skeletons "rising" from the grave, gruesome dolls and dismembered hands, was deemed "inappropriate" by the town council.



It's an annual hit with people in the midlands, and sightseers come from all over Westmeath to the semi-detached house in Brawny Square where Mrs Quinn lives with her sons, David (11) and Tyler (8).



However, this year, the council seems to have taken issue with the addition of three 'coffins' in the tidy front garden of the family home.



Mrs Quinn explained that she has been decorating her home every Halloween and Christmas for the past four years.



"Every year we add something extra, we always do different scenes," she told the Irish Independent. "Everyone comes from all over to see the house and there are always pictures of it in the paper.



"This year we decided we would like coffins in the garden so my sister-in-law got them made for me."



However, she was ordered to remove the coffins and headstones by Athlone Town Council. The local authority said Mrs Quinn had broken her tenancy agreement over "inappropriate use of her front garden".



Athlone town clerk John Walsh said some people had been "frightened" by the placing of names on the coffins. "We obviously wanted it terminated so we served a notice to quit and demand for possession," he said.



Harmless



But Mrs Quinn said the names on the coffins -- 'Crazy Frog', 'The Ring' and 'Patch' -- were "harmless" and she had not set out of offend anybody.



"We took the coffins down after the council complained. Small-minded, jealous people or somebody who has a grudge against me complained," she said.



Vowing to fight the eviction order she considers "extreme ", she added: ''We've been living here for four years and nobody ever complained before."



Said Mrs Quinn: "I'm in bits, I'm annoyed with the council, I'm going to court and I'll fight them the whole way. I didn't do anything wrong. My house is one of the nicest in Brawny Square and I've put a lot of money into it. I'm not going to walk away and leave it."



COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz