Judge refuses to make orders to arrest people allegedly occupying Dublin city property

Court not satisfied all of alleged occupants of house on Berkeley Street made aware of judge’s orders

A judge refused to grant orders on Wednesday directing gardaí to arrest and bring before the High Court “unknown persons” over their alleged failure to vacate a Dublin city property owned by a charitable housing association.

Mr Justice Rory Mulcahy had previously granted an injunction preventing the defendants, believed to be international protection applicants, from occupying Cabhrú Housing Association’s property at James McSweeney House, Berkeley Street, Dublin.

On Wednesday, Cabhrú, which provides housing for older people, sought orders to “attach” and potentially commit those alleged to be in contempt of the orders.

Mr Justice Mulcahy refused to grant them due to what he said was a lack of evidence before the court about the identities of the persons on the property. He was not satisfied that all of those alleged to be in occupation have been made aware of the orders to vacate the premises.


Additional efforts must be made to ascertain the identities of the people and they should be properly served with the proceedings, the judge said.

He said Cabhrú can renew their application to attach and potentially commit to prison those allegedly in breach of the injunction at a later date.

The judge said he fully accepted that Cabhrú, which wants to redevelop the property into units for older people, brought the proceedings as a last resort.

The matter will return to court next week.

Seeking the orders, barrister Andrew Whelan, for Cabhrú, said that his client has been unable to gain access to the premises since May 12th after unknown people barricaded themselves into the building.

When the orders were first sought it was believed that up to 53 people were in the building, he said. That number has reduced since the order was granted, but 23 people are understood to remain on the premises, in contempt of the injunction, he added.

Counsel said that while his client cannot gain entry, many other people have been seen “coming and going” from the property.

Efforts have been made to serve all of the people with notice of the High Court proceedings and the injunction granted by the court.

Those documents have been provided in languages including Arabic, French, Spanish and Farsi, counsel added.

The building remains occupied, leaving his client with no option but to seek orders for the attachment and committal of people allegedly in contempt.

“My client is not a vulture fund nor a property speculator. It is a charity that wishes to convert the building into housing for the elderly,” counsel said.

While Cabhrú has every sympathy for homeless people, particularly those seeking international protection, it is not his client’s role to provide them with accommodation, he said.

The chief executive of Streetlink Homeless Support, Padraig Drummond, who is not a party to the action but is aware of the situation, said State representatives have been given access to the property to help the people seeking accommodation.

However, he did not know if Cabhrú’s representatives would be given access to the building.

Mr Drummond, who was described by Mr Justice Mulcahy as being of assistance to the court in the matter, added that there has been a lack of communication between the State representatives and the international protection applicants.

In its action, Cabhrú claims the property is owned by the association and has been vacant since April 2021. Demolition was planned for this year, with construction to begin next year on a 35-unit complex which has planning permission.

The occupant’s actions have delayed the project, it is claimed.

Cabhrú previously secured the property, disconnected water, gas and electricity, and engaged a security company to call out three times a week.

It claims that last May 12th the alarm was triggered after people with no right to be there broke in.

It claims the electrical supply has been tampered with and a fire alarm system has been interfered with.