herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Gardai at scene as squatters stop workers leaving city site

Protestors sitting down in front of van (with smashed windscreen) that tried to exit from site at Grangegorman lower, Dublin
Protestors sitting down in front of van (with smashed windscreen) that tried to exit from site at Grangegorman lower, Dublin
General view of Gardai at scene. Grangegorman lower, Dublin
General view of van (with smashed windscreen) that tried to exit from site at Grangegorman lower, Dublin

GARDAI were at the scene of a stand-off in the city as a crowd of protesters prevented workers from leaving a northside Dublin site where 30 people having been squatting.

There were tense scenes as protesters prevented the workers and security men – who had accessed the site earlier in the day – from leaving. The group of squatters had been warned they will face legal action if they don’t vacate buildings they are occupying at Lower Grangegorman, Dublin 7.

There were scuffles as a representative of a private security firm, supported by gardai, arrived at the site early yesterday morning.

An agent from LAS Security delivered a letter from Luke Charleton – the receiver to assets of developer Paschal Conroy – warning the squatters he is “entitled to possession” of two properties on the street.

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General view of Gardai at scene. Grangegorman lower, Dublin

The letter warns that the receiver will “take the necessary legal steps to enforce my rights”. However, the occupiers of the buildings refused to leave and a stand-off ensued. Some workers did manage to gain access during the day to construct a fence beside a warehouse on the complex.

A group of squatters later climbed on top of the front gate of the complex in protest at the demand that they vacate the property.

The confrontation continued throughout the day and the protesters sat and lay in front of the gates to prevent the workers leaving.

It wasn’t until late last night that the crowd let the workers and their vehicles leave the complex after negotiating with gardai.

One of those protesting, who said his name was Shane, admitted that the residents were “squatting”. However, he vowed they’d be staying on the site.

“We’ll definitely be resisting this. We are certainly not going without a fight,” he told the Herald.

Grange1.jpg
General view of van (with smashed windscreen) that tried to exit from site at Grangegorman lower, Dublin

“They just showed up at half six this morning with no notice whatsoever,” he claimed.

Shane says that he began living at number 7 Lower Grangegorman “a year-and-a-half ago” and that since then more people have moved in.

“We have taken over the whole complex. We have about 30 people living here”, he said. “This is a place we have invested a year-and-a-half of our lives into and we have created links with lots of people in the area and it’s not something that we want to give up.”

He added that the squatters have created a “community garden” and what he described as “hangout spaces” at the site.

“It’s quite communal,” he said.

The letter handed into the occupants of the complex explains that Mr Charleton was appointed as receiver to certain assets of builder Mr Conroy – including number 7 and 8 Lower Grangegorman – by the National Asset Loan Management Limited, a subsidiary of NAMA.

“I hereby repeat that I am entitled to the possession of the Secured Property and the continued occupation of that property by persons unknown to me is unlawful”, Mr Charleton states.

“Please be informed that to the extent that you or any other person shall remain in occupation of the Secured Property, without identifying to me or to my agents the legal basis for such occupation, I shall instruct my solicitors to take the necessary steps to enforce my rights,” he warns.

A spokesman for NAMA last night said the site is under the control of joint receivers David Hughes and Luke Charleton, of Ernst & Young, and that queries should be directed to them.

Mr Charleton couldn’t be reached for a comment last night while Ernst & Young said it also would not be commenting on the matter.

hnews@herald.ie

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