Grangegorman Squat Had Nothing in Common with Gorse Hill


The residents of Grangegorman are once more in the High Court this morning (26 March) as what is in effect NAMA attempt to get them thrown out of their homes. NAMA own the loans on the site, their receivers are trying to get procession not in order to build homes or a community centre but in order to be able to sell it. Parts of this particular site have been lying derelict for about 15 years as part of the speculative cycle of the property millionaires. If the residents are evicted who knows how many more years that may continue.

There has been fantastic support from the residents from other people living and working in the area. Lots of people have been dropping in food and other supplies, and part from individual donations there has also been help from workers at the council, the fire brigade and at least one homeless organisation.

The residents talked to well over a hundred people who stopped at the info table yesterday and said the overwhelming reaction has been positive and supportive once their plight was sustained. There were one or two exceptions but it was particularly noticeable that people who were homeless themselves tended to be particularly supportive.

One supporter Tom said of his visit last night that "While I was there, a man dropped by to give the group a donation of 100 euro - just a small example of community support. There have been a lot of food donations, what they really need now are
(a) protective gear (e.g. old shinpads) and
(b) building materials (e.g. concrete) along with all the other usuals like food, rain gear and so on."

A lot of people spontaneously bring up the comparison with the very different treatment the once multi-millonare O’Donnell family received when they refused to move from Gorse Hill. They point to their very different treatment. Far from having a huge gang of bailiffs and Garda break into their home at 6.30 am and assault them with no warning they have been handled with kid gloves.

Yesterday the High Court refused to give the Grangegorman residents more than 24 hours to answer the extremely detailed documents that have been submitted against them. But on Tuesday the O'Donnells were given an additional month because the judge said Mr O’Donnell had raised a number of detailed legal issues which could not be dealt with by the end of this week.

While some want to suggest some similarity between the two cases they could not be more different. The people at Gorse Hill were property speculators that at one point according to the Irish Times had as much as 900 million in property interests, heavily leveraged of course. This included some of the Canary Wharf skyscrapers in London.

Andrew points out that "A few years back this bad thing happened where it suddenly became clear that all the money our banks had lent to that type was not coming back. And as a result the banks looked like they might collapse. But the government stepped in and said it was grand, sure the rest of us would cover the billions that were lent out for the rest of our lives out of our wages, welfare, health, education and of course new taxes and charges.

The people in Grangegorman on the other hand are like the vast majority of us. They never had much money, they never bought multiple properties on borrowed money, and they never came to the rest of us after that bid failed to pay off their loans.
Do you see the difference?"

Some 110,000 homes are under eventual threat of eviction in the south, mostly for being behind with mortgage payments. It's the property speculators who want to roll the dice again with the Grangegorman site who got us into this. We should have no sympathy for the handful whose gamble backfired so badly that they are expected to carry a fraction of the costs.