High Court orders trespassers to leave building opposite Met Office

Members of group, who claim to be ‘dangerously under-housed’, say they have left site

 Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted the orders after expressing concern about health, safety and insurance issues. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted the orders after expressing concern about health, safety and insurance issues. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

The High Court has ordered people trespassing on a former car showroom building opposite the Met Office in Glasnevin, Dublin, to leave.

Sanderly Holdings sought the orders against “persons unknown trespassing on the lands and buildings” at the Glasnevin Hill property, formerly used by the Glasnevin Motor Group.

Sanderly has applied for permission to build a mixed used residential/retail development at the property.

The court heard a number of people appear to be living in some of the buildings and have put locks on doors and a gate.

On Friday, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted the orders after expressing concern about health, safety and insurance issues. These created an urgency which could only be met by granting the orders, she said. She put a stay on the orders until 5pm Friday to give the occupants a chance to leave.

Sanderly director, Bryan Lawlor, in an affidavit, said he learned of the trespass on April 30th last.

He went to the property where he told a man with a north American accent he was a director of the company and he was trespassing. The man remained inside the locked gate.

Vacant

The man replied it had been vacant for some time “that he had therefore taken it over and he was now the owner of the site”.

Mr Lawlor asked him to identify himself but he refused. The man was clean and well dressed and did not appear to be homeless, he said.

Mr Lawlor also saw a woman and three other individuals, including two on the roof. They were dressed in black and a black flag was flying from the building.

He rang the gardaí and they told him officers would call but there followed two occasions when Mr Lawlor was unable to meet gardaí when they did attend.

Mr Lawlor was also informed that lights were on in the building which has given rise to concerns about where electricity was being sourced from.

Ms Justice Reynolds ordered the notices be placed on the building and under the door and returned the case to next week.

‘Under-housed’

In a statement to The Irish Times, the squatters described themselves as a “group of friends who for a collection of different reasons have found ourselves currently dangerously under-housed”.

On Friday evening one member of the squatters group said they had vacated the building, in accordance with the court order.

Squatting was the “very last option available” for people searching for affordable housing, but also had a “long history” of being used for a political purpose, the statement said.

“Occupying neglected properties makes a strong point about social housing, it makes a point about whose city this is, and it makes a point against development and gentrification,” it continued.

“Inherently squatting is a grassroots action against gentrification and homelessness,” which also provided a vision of a life beyond the “straightjacket” of capitalism.