Politicians and civil liberties groups criticise Garda over eviction

Protesters clash with gardaí as men in balaclavas eject group from city centre property

Hundreds of ‘Take Back the City’ protesters gather in Dublin city centre in protest against activists being removed from a property. Video: Kathleen Harris

 

Politicians and civil liberties groups have criticised An Garda Síochána after a group of balaclava-wearing men evicted housing activists from a property in central Dublin.

On Tuesday evening, the group of men forced their way into the property at 34 North Frederick Street using an angle grinder and a sledgehammer, and removed several people. The Department of Justice said the repossession was carried out by “a private firm acting for the owner of the premises”.

Campaign group Take Back the City had been occupying the vacant building to protest the housing crisis for the last three weeks.

The owner of the property, Patricia Ní Greil, had secured a High Court injunction on August 28th requiring the protesters to leave the building, which the activists had defied.

Gardaí from the public order unit attended the scene to separate the men who entered the property from a large number of people protesting outside.

Six people were arrested following confrontations with gardaí, during which some officers used their batons. Some protesters claim they sought medical attention afterwards.

Amnesty International Ireland called for an investigation into the alleged use of “excessive force” by gardaí against what it said “appear to be largely peaceful protesters”, while the Irish Council for Civil Liberties called for a report from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

Sinn Féin justice spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said videos of clashes seen on social media were “very concerning” while Labour justice spokesman Seán Sherlock said Mr Harris must explain the “level of co-operation” between gardaí and the men carrying out the eviction.

Hundreds protested in Dublin city centre yesterday evening in support housing activists removed from the property. Traffic came to a standstill and there were delays to public transport as a result of the protest by the Take Back the City group which began about 5.30pm. It moved through O’Connell Street, Parnell Square and for a time gathered outside t 34 North Frederick Street and nearby 41 Belvedere Place. It finished shortly after 8pm.