Vacant Glebe House in Crumlin occupied by activists

‘This is our land . . . It doesn’t belong to vulture funds or millionaires who sit on property ’

Grassroots activists occupied Glebe House in Crumlin Village for 24 hours. The landmark building has been vacant for about three years, according to locals. Video: Kathleen Harris

a
 

Housing activists in Dublin occupied a large, vacant house in the south of the city on Saturday.

The landmark building, Glebe House in Crumlin Village, was occupied by grassroots activists for 24 hours, from Friday lunchtime.

Local councillor Tina MacVeigh (People Before Profit-Solidarity) led about 30 protesters from Jack Potts bingo hall at the former Star cinema to the house on Saturday morning to greet the occupiers as they dropped a banner from two upstairs windows saying, “Raise the Roof 2.30 pm, October 3rd” in reference to a planned housing protest outside Dáil Éireann at that time.

Cllr MacVeigh said it had been a “symbolic occupation” to demonstrate that “with a little investment” Glebe House could provide a “wonderful home to two families”.

The property has been vacant for about three years, according to locals. It is now under the control of property services company Merlin Management Limited.

Glebe House in Crumlin Village which was occupied on Friday. Photograph: Kathleen Harris
Glebe House in Crumlin Village which was occupied on Friday. Photograph: Kathleen Harris
Cllr Tina MacVeigh (People Before Profit-Solidarity) on the steps of Glebe House. Photograph: Kathleen Harris/The Irish Times
Cllr Tina MacVeigh (People Before Profit-Solidarity) on the steps of Glebe House. Photograph: Kathleen Harris/The Irish Times

Cllr MacVeigh said the “direct action” had been taken as part of the Take Back the City campaign. And the aim was to highlight the number of vacant properties across the capital that could be compulsorily purchased by Dublin City Council to house homeless people and families.

“It’s morally corrupt if you own a building that is habitable and has been sitting empty for years. And you don’t make it available for housing in the middle of this housing crisis. We say, ‘that is the crime’. Occupy! Occupy! Occupy!” she said.

Peter Dooley of the Dublin Renters’ Union said the housing crisis was “not a mistake or an accident” but a “manufactured crisis”.

“Renters don’t have any proper rights in terms of security of tenure. Renters don’t have any protections. Rents in south Dublin have gone up 72 per cent in the last five years. More and more people are living in overcrowded accommodation.

“In Rathmines, where I live, there are a lot of migrants in slum-like conditions. The bottom line is that the Government is facilitating this, letting this go on because of the commodification of housing . . . and leaving places like this lie empty in the middle of the worst housing crisis in the history of the State.”

He said there was a need for a “massive social movement” of community movements such as that in Crumlin “standing together and fighting back to take over empty buildings. It’s up to people to empower themselves to take part in civil disobedience.”

We have to reclaim the streets, reclaim the properties, reclaim the land.

Tara Deasy, Dublin South Central candidate for the Social Democrats, congratulated the occupiers. She said it is “really obvious over the last few months that all the parties of the left are coming together” on the housing issue.

Bríd Smith, local TD (People Before Profit), said it was important activists did “not put up with the narrative that we are the problem. They are the problem . . . This is our land, this is our house. It doesn’t belong to vulture funds or millionaires who sit on property waiting to make more and more money. So we have to reclaim the streets, reclaim the properties, reclaim the land. This movement can do it. Everybody out on October 3rd.”

Local businessman, Michael Hogan of A and J Signs, said he and other businessowners had tried to contact the owner of the house.

“I wish he would sell it or refurbish it but I suppose he’s waiting for developers. It would make lovely apartments or a home for elderly people. I have been watching it fall into ruin.”

a