herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Scuffles as city squatters vowing to resist eviction

GARDAI attended 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 have 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 would face legal action if they didn't vacate the buildings at Lower Grangegorman, Dublin 7.

At approximately 10pm last night a further stand-off ensued and a number of people seated themselves in front of the vans and trucks that attempted to leave the premises.

Last night Dublin Fire Brigade confirmed that a man was taken by ambulance to the Mater Hospital with minor injuries.

This morning, the squatters told the Herald that it was "all quiet" at the Grangegorman site, and that some of the barriers put in place by workers yesterday had already been removed.

"We didn't take them all down, just some of them, so that we can travel between each others houses," one man called Shane said.

Yesterday morning a representative of a private security firm, supported by gardai, arrived at the site. 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.

However, the occupiers of the buildings refused to leave. 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.

EVICTION

The confrontation continued throughout the day and 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 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.

He added 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. It's not something that we want to give up."

He added that the squatters have created a "community garden" at the site.

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.

"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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