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Protesters chant 'let them go' as activists arrested after eviction at occupied Dublin property

Activists had been defying a court order to remain in the building for a number of weeks.

Take Back the City activists outside Store Street Garda Station
Take Back the City activists outside Store Street Garda Station
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Sep 11th 2018, 10:18 PM

SIX PEOPLE WERE arrested this evening after housing activists were removed from a vacant house on North Frederick Street in Dublin.

A private company called to the property at 34 North Frederick Street this evening to remove the activists, who have been defying a court order to remain in the building for a number of weeks.

The order was issued on 28 August, when the High Court ordered that all persons occupying the house vacated it by 2pm the following day.

Justice Michael Quinn granted Patricia Ní Greil, the owner of 34 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1, injunctions requiring persons unknown to vacate and cease trespassing and get out of the four-storey building.

It was not immediately clear who the private company were acting on behalf of, but a number of individuals had their faces covered as did members of the garda public order unit who were also on site.

Dozens of activists gathered outside the property to protest the move afterwards, before gardaí arrested five men and one woman over public order offences.

The property was boarded up by 8pm, leading to angry calls from the protestors.

There are also reports that at least one person has been taken to hospital.

Around 100 activists subsequently stood outside the building to chant in protest at the eviction, before marching down O’Connell Street towards Store Street Garda Station.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as the crowd marched through that section of the city centre, turning from O’Connell Street onto Abbey Street.

The crowd chanted anti-government slogans, and also negatively against Fianna Fáil, while also demanding for the release of the activists held inside. A number of them were released following the group’s arrival at Store Street Garda Station.

The activists have previously said their actions are designed to highlight the ongoing housing crisis.

In a statement following the eviction, a spokesman for the Take Back the City group told TheJournal.ie that activists will be “emboldened” by this evening’s developments.

“This will make no difference to us, there’s plenty more vacant buildings we can occupy around Dublin,” he said.

“The campaign is as strong as it’s ever been, and we’ve been getting messages of support on social media all night.”

Upon his release, one of the activists said that this was only the beginning of the movement, as the movement could target other vacant buildings in the city centre. 

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Also present at Store Street station was Solidarity-PBP TD Bríd Smith. She told TheJournal.ie that when she heard the occupiers had been removed from the property, she resolved to come down.

“I came down because I want to support them as a TD and someone who’s involved in the housing campaign,” Smith said. “I think there’s a great contrast between what’s happened here tonight and what happens on a daily basis in the Department of Housing. This minister [Eoghan Murphy] and the previous one [Simon Coveney] have overseen a rapidly worsening housing crisis.”

She said that movements involving primarily young people had been able to make a difference in the past, and that the youthful presence at this protest helped to “provide a catalyst” for activism on the housing crisis.

Smith said the motion of no confidence launched by Sinn Féin against Minister Eoghan Murphy would “separate the men from the boys” so we could “see who means business when it comes to tackling the housing and homelessness crisis”.

No confidence in and of itself doesn’t mean much, but it’s symbolic of how politically the Dáil feels about the housing crisis… We should see the no confidence motion as part of a wider campaign to bring it to the pinnacle of political concern in this country.

The occupation of the building on North Fredrick Street followed the similar occupation of a building on Summerhill Parade.

An associated group of activists also marched to occupy a third building on Belvedere Court in Dublin 1 last Saturday.

With additional reporting by Sean Murray. Comments have been closed for legal reasons.

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