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Activists plan clean-up operation at Stoneybatter site after attempted eviction by property firm

There are plans to build 166 apartments on the site in Dublin 7.

Activists on the roof of the occupied building on Prussia Street yesterday.
Activists on the roof of the occupied building on Prussia Street yesterday.
Image: Sam Boal

HOUSING ACTIVISTS OCCUPYING a site in Stoneybatter, Dublin, are planning a clean-up operation on Sunday following an attempted eviction on Wednesday. 

The site on Prussia Street, referred to as Sunnyvale, has been occupied by activist group ‘That Social Centre’ since last month.

The McGrath Group, a property development firm, has plans to build 166 build-to-rent apartments on the site, according to a planning submission lodged to An Bord Pleanála in May.

The company was issued with a High Court order by Dublin City Council, instructing it to remove squatters from the site, the McGrath Group said in a statement to The Journal.

It said the site had been fully occupied as a car sales and maintenance yard prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The group said it “approached the squatters on a number of occasions asking them to vacate the site, also providing them with a copy of the High Court Order from DCC – but they refused.”

It added that it was refused access to the site to carry out tests and surveys required for the ongoing planning application. 

The McGrath Group said it was legally required to keep the site vacant because of the council’s concerns about “serious fire and safety risks and the overall poor condition of the existing buildings”.

The firm said it found new illegal electricity connections and live electricity cables when it entered the site on Wednesday.

It claimed that when accessing the site representatives of McGrath encountered “ten squatters”. The statement said they had “foreign accents” but did not provide further detail. 

Most of the people were staying in “foreign registered camper vans in which they drove out of the property”, the statement added. 

The activists announced on social media today that they are planning a “clean-up and work day” at the site on Sunday.

Video footage of Wednesday’s attempted eviction was widely shared online, showing gardaí and security staff clashing with activists outside the property.

Gardaí said they attended the Prussia Street site where a “property owner, in compliance with a court order, was securing a premises and facilitating access to persons to remove personal items”.

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An Bord Pleanála said in July that the property firm’s submission required further consideration.

The McGrath Group’s website says it is at an advanced planning stage regarding the Prussia Street development, with the proposed start date for the scheme listed as the third quarter of 2022.

It notes that the development will include “a host of residential amenities including a cafe, cinema room, gym and concierge.”

The website adds that the McGrath Group is a privately-owned investment and development group founded in the 1980s, that operates in Ireland, the UK and Germany.

Along with Prussia Street, the group is currently involved in developments in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin 20 and 22, Monkstown, Co Dublin, Dundalk, Co Louth, Naas, Co Kildare and Rostock, Germany.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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