herald

Tuesday 18 September 2018

'We will keep going' - protesters take sit-in to new city property

The property in Summerhill Parade, Dublin, which was occupied by a group protesting about homelessness
The property in Summerhill Parade, Dublin, which was occupied by a group protesting about homelessness

Housing activists who occupied a property in the inner city until being forced out by a court order have moved on to another one.

The protesters left the Summerhill Parade house before an 8am deadline issued by the High Court on Thursday after the owners of the property applied to the court to have the building vacated.

At 9.15am yesterday, a man who would only identify himself as an agent for the plaintiff arrived with a group of security men.

He banged on the door and called out for anyone inside to answer. When no answer was forthcoming, he asked a workman to open the door by force.

Drill

He first tried to force the lockbolt with a thin piece of plastic, but when that did not work he used a cordless drill on the centre of the lock and opened the door with a screwdriver.

The agent, who was wearing a body camera, then went into the house with a security man to search it.

They emerged a few minutes later and then searched the properties adjacent to the house.

The agent told reporters that the houses were vacant, indicating that the protesters had left during the night.

Members of Dublin Central Housing Action (DCHA) met on the steps of 35 Summerhill Parade at noon yesterday, hours after the group which was occupying the property for 10 days was forced out.

They marched to the Garden Of Remembrance and to North Frederick Street where they took over number 34.

"The Government is not about to change this squalid housing crisis, the people are. Summerhill was only the tip of the iceberg. We're ready to keep going," a DCHA spokesman said.

"We have decided to take 34 North Frederick Street to continue to highlight the need for organised action against the crisis. This property has been vacant for at least three years."

The group is asking that vacant buildings in the city be bought by compulsory purchase order by Dublin City Council and given to the local community.

"We want to highlight that private vacant properties can and should be put into public ownership. All vacant land and properties should be put under public ownership," said the DCHA spokesman.

The group also called for fair rent and security for all tenants, a ban on evictions and the capping of rent at 20pc of the occupant's income or at a maximum of €300 per room.

Irish Solidarity - People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett joined the crowd of about 50 as they marched to North Frederick Street.

Another protester was John Martin from the New Land League organisation. He was a figure in the standoff at Gorse Hill in Killiney when Bank of Ireland was seeking possession of the property from Brian O'Donnell and family in 2015.

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