Housing activists occupy vacant Dublin property

In May a large number of tenants were evicted with 24 hours notice from the house due to fire safety concerns

Housing activists have called on the government to solve the housing crisis after occupying a vacant property at Summerhill Parade in central Dublin. Video: Jack Power

 

A group of housing activists have occupied an inner city property, where over 20 foreign nationals were evicted in May.

On Tuesday a small number of individuals broke into the property, 35 Summerhill Parade, Ballybough, Dublin 1.

A large group of activists from several housing campaign groups marched from the GPO on O’Connell Street to the property. Groups included Dublin Central Housing Action, the Dublin Renters’ Union, and student protest group Take Back Trinity.

Two individuals in the home wearing Leo Varadkar face masks hung a banner with the words “Homes for All” from the second floor window of the house.

Two individuals in the home wearing Leo Varadkar face masks hung a banner with the words “Homes for All” from the second floor window of the house. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/Irish Times
Two individuals in the home wearing Leo Varadkar face masks hung a banner with the words “Homes for All” from the second floor window of the house. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/Irish Times

At 8pm, ten more people entered the property with the intention of occupying the property overnight. The sound of drilling could be heard behind the door of the property.

The home is believed to have been vacant since early May. It was vacated following an inspection by Dublin Fire Brigade, which raised fire safety issues at the property, a Dublin City Council spokeswoman said.

A large number of primarily Brazilian tenants were evicted with 24 hours notice from the house, and five other neighbouring homes on the street.

Speaking to The Irish Times in May, tenants did not know who their landlord was, and only dealt with a letting agent. A spokesman for Dublin Central Housing Action said they had not been able to confirm who the landlord of the property was.

Speaking outside of the occupation, Conor Reddy (22), a member of Take Back Trinity, said the coalition of groups had occupied the building to “demand public housing.”

The student group occupied a building in Trinity College Dublin to protest a proposed increase in repeat exam fees to €450, which the university reversed following the protest.

“Homes should be for need and not for greed. The action is about taking back power over these properties, this property has been vacant now for a number of months,” he said.

“We believe the city council and the State should take over these properties, renovate them, use compulsory purchase orders, and put them to social [housing] use immediately,” he said.

Peter Dowley (43) from Dublin’s Renters Union said the action was necessary as there was a “massive housing crisis” in Ireland.

“There’s so many people being evicted from their homes, and so many vacant homes. It’s about time we take over a vacant property and demand the council purchase it.”

“Renters don’t have any security of tenure. We need long term security of tenure,” he said.

Juliana Sassi (30) a member of the Dublin branch of Brazilian Left Front, a grassroots left wing group who assisted tenants evicted from the property in May, was also outside the occupation.

She said Brazilian students and workers in Ireland were taken advantage of in the Dublin rental market.

“We have a problem with communication or knowing our rights, so we are under worse circumstances. Overcrowding is normal, in houses people are living in 20 people per house, bunk beds everywhere,” she said.

While activists barricaded themselves into the property, a large number of people remained outside the home on Tuesday evening.