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Salvation Army secures injunction requiring alleged trespassers to vacate Dublin building

The charity had been renovating the property to accommodate refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

File photo of Lefroy House, Dublin.
File photo of Lefroy House, Dublin.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE SALVATION ARMY has secured a High Court injunction requiring persons to vacate and cease trespassing on a Dublin city property it wants to convert into accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

The orders were granted today by Justice Siobhan Stack after members of a group calling itself the Revolutionary Workers Union entered Lefroy House on Dublin’s Eden Quay since the start of the month and have refused to leave.

The building, which the Salvation Army holds a long lease over, had been operated as emergency accommodation for minors in crisis for many years until its closure in early 2021 when funding ceased.

The charity had been renovating the property to accommodate refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

It had hoped to open its doors to the first group of refugees starting from June.

However, those plans were put on hold after the building was allegedly broken into and occupied on 1 May by the Revolutionary Workers Union, whose members the High Court heard are refusing to vacate the property.

The Court heard that in social media posts the group, which has renamed the property James Connolly House, claims intends to use the building to accommodate homeless people.

Last week lawyers for the Salvation Army (Republic of Ireland) Company commenced High Court proceedings against persons unknown, who it is claimed are illegally occupying and trespassing on the premises.

Following submissions by Niall Buckley Bl for the charity the High Court granted permission to serve notice of the Salvations Army’s proceedings, where it sought an injunction requiring the property to be vacated, on the occupants.

When the matter returned before the High Court today Justice Stack said she was satisfied that the injunction should be granted, and that the current occupants were aware of the legal action.

Buckley told the court that based on social media posts that the occupants were aware of the proceedings brought by his client.

There were no persons present in court claiming to occupants of the building or members of the Union when the matter was called on.

Justice Stack said that she was satisfied that the plaintiff had made out a strong case that was likely to succeed at a full hearing, and that that any purported rights asserted on social media posts by the occupants to the property could not be established in law.

The judge said in the circumstances that she was happy to grant the Salvation Army an injunction, which is to remain in place pending the outcome of the full hearing, requiring the property to be vacated.

The injunction also prevents anyone who has knowledge of the orders from trespassing at Lefroy House, or from interfering with the property.

Notice of the court’s order is to be posted on the doors of the building; the judge directed.

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Previously the court heard that despite Buckley’s client’s efforts to communicate with those in occupation, the plaintiff cannot access the premises nor continue to repair the building so it can be used to house the refugees.

The SA were given an email address to communicate with the occupiers, but no substantial meetings nor talks have taken place.

The identities of those involved in the occupation are not known, it is claimed.

Posts on social media stated that the building was seized after being made the subject of a ‘People’s Acquisition Order’ and that it was taken over ‘in the spirit of the 1916 Rising.’

The occupants have also flown various signs from the building.

It was also claimed that in one particular post there had been a warning issued against any attempt to remove the occupants.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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