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Dublin: 18°C Saturday 24 July 2021

Up to 100 people could be forced to leave Dublin property because their 'lives are in danger'

The judge granted owner-landlord Mel Kilraine leave to serve short notice on the occupants.

Belvedere Place, Dublin
Belvedere Place, Dublin

THE LIVES OF up to up to 100 foreign nationals, including children, alleged to be squatting in a Dublin city centre apartment block, are in deadly danger, a judge was told today.

Judge John O’Connor told retired solicitor Mel Kilraine’s legal team they could apply to the Circuit Civil court tomorrow to have it consider their forcible removal for their own safety.

He directed that Tusla, the child and family protection service, as well as the Garda Commissioner and Dublin City Council be alerted immediately to the potential danger to the occupants of Five Belvedere Place, Dublin. 

Barrister Sean O’Sullivan, who appeared with Tommy Owens for Kilraine, of Henry Street, Bailieborough, Co Cavan, told the court all fire protection equipment had been torn off the walls in the building after dozens had broken into premises during June and July.

The judge granted owner-landlord Kilraine leave to serve short notice on the occupants of the application tomorrow for injunctions restraining them from continuing their illegal occupation of the property. 

O’Sullivan said there had been a near riot outside the property on Saturday evening last with fights having broken out between some of the squatters. When gardaí were called to the scene the trouble-makers had locked themselves back in the building.

Kilraine, in sworn affidavits opened to the court, said elderly local residents and the representatives of a local Convent school, feared injury as a result of the potential danger of fire breaking out and spreading.

The court heard that a fire alarm expert sent to the building to reconnect fire safety devices feared for his life and fled the property with difficulty after he had been wrongly accused of being there to cut off power supplies.  He had driven home in his van and was still suffering from shock.

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Kilraine said he had been gradually emptying the building of legal tenants with a view to refurbishing residential units and selling the property after interest had been shown in it by a potential purchaser 

O’Sullivan said eight of eleven units were now believed to be accommodating dozens of squatters with no fire protection or alarm systems.  Units that had been boarded up as previous tenants had moved out were broken open.

Judge O’Connor said the court was concerned for the safety of everyone in the property, but particularly children, and directed that the appropriate authorities be informed of the potential danger to all. 

The court has listed Kilraine’s application for injunctive relief to be heard tomorrow.

About the author:

Ray Managh

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