Grangegorman residents key points on the March 2015 attempt to evict

Date:

The text that follows was published by the residents of the squatted complex at Grangegorman on 24 March to describe the day long eviction attempt they succesfully resisted on the previous day.  It was initally published on their Facebook page and handed out in leaflet form to people walking by the complex. The words are there own.

On Monday 23rd March, the squatted buildings at Grangegorman, where a community has been living for a year-and-a-half, was the subject of a violent attempted eviction by a large force of contractors and Gardaí. Here is a summary of the situation.



ACTIVITIES AT GRANGEGORMAN:

* Home and living space for about 30, mostly young people, who can no longer afford to rent in Dublin.

* A community garden that was built and is worked on together by residents of the space and local families from the nearby school.

* ‘Words in the Warehouse’, a semi-regular spoken-word, music and poetry night lit by candles in the warehouse, attended by about 100 people.

* ‘Headspace’, a converted office space with art studios, a soundproof music practice space and regular art exhibitions.

* Circus skills practice: the high ceilings of the warehouses allow for aerial silks and other circus and acrobatics performance arts to be practised.

* A ‘free shop’, where people can bring unused clothes and other items and anybody can take whatever they want free of charge.

* A community kitchen and seating area that is used by all users of the space, resident and non-resident alike.

All these activities and more are able to run completely free of charge because of the squatted nature of the space.



THE SPACE:

The space consists of three houses, three converted office buildings, five warehouses, a main courtyard and two smaller yards.

At first, we occupied only the houses, because we needed a place to live. We knew they had been empty for a long time, and we could get in easily (without breaking and entering). Once we realised the warehouses were part of the same property and that it was in NAMA, we realised we could use the entire space for a much more ambitious project.

We are reclaiming unused space and building a community around it so it can be used autonomously for projects that would simply not be possible within the constraints of a rented space.



HOUSING AND SQUATTING:

* Rent has increased in Dublin by 30% since 2012 and by 16% in the past year alone.

* The youth unemployment rate in Ireland is 22%, and would be higher were it not for the mass emigration in recent years.

* This increasingly means young people can no longer afford to rent in the city.

* With the number of empty buildings in the city, squatting makes a lot of sense.



LEGAL SITUATION:

* Generally, if somebody owns a property and they are not in possession of it, and it is being occupied by other people, they need to take the occupants to court and get an ejectment order against them.

* There was no court order against the occupation of the properties and they have never been taken to court about it.

* The evicters were not bailiffs or sheriffs appointed by a court, but a private security company.

* The letter received by occupants was from Luke Charleton and simply explained that he had been appointed statutory receiver of the properties by NAMA, and had authorised Aidan Devlin of LAS Group to act as an agent on his behalf.

* It also contained a copy of the original deed of appointment by NAMA from three years ago.

* There is nothing in the letter received by the occupants to suggest that the eviction was legal or in any way authorised by a court.



ATTEMPTED EVICTION ON MONDAY:

* At 6:30am on Monday 23rd March 2015, 30-40 private security and construction workers, assisted by 10-15 Gardaí, cut through the main gates and started erecting fences around the dwellings.

* No prior notice was given.

* Some residents found themselves fenced off completely from their homes and belongings.

* The private security threatened and intimidated the residents, and at one point residents found themselves trapped between two pieces of fencing that were being pushed against them.

* Once they had secured the temporary fencing, they went on to erect permanent, spiked fences around the houses.



MONDAY NIGHT:

* Protestors occupying the main gates, four metres high, were attacked by private security with metal bars. This was captured by a photographer from the back garden of one of the houses.

* The main gates were then forced open, causing one protestor to fall off onto the ground. His leg was seriously injured and he was brought by an ambulance to the Mater Hospital.

* Once the gate was open, a van attempting to exit the compound drove into a crowd of people. Protestors had to bang on the windscreen of the van to get the driver to stop.

* After the protestor were injured, the Gardaí were eager to de-escalate the situation.

* Representatives from the protestors and LAS Group met with the Superintendent and negotiated that the protestors would let the vehicles leave if all the hired security would also leave.

* Afterwards, the protestors occupied the yard and celebrated successfully resisting the eviction.

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