Homeless Direct action occupies DCC office in Coolock


A housing direct action is took place this morning (14 Sept) at the Dublin City Council (DCC) office in Bunratty Civic Centre, Coolock in Dublin. Mother’s and their children who are in need of housing occupied the offices in order to force the council to answer their questions. In particular they want to know why many people are discovering there isn’t even emergency accommodation available.

Some of the mothers are currently living in hotels or B&B's (which DCC pay for) with their kids while others are couch surfing in the homes of friends and relations. There are a huge number of ‘hidden homeless’ in such situations.

When the protesters entered the DCC office area they demanded to see the head of staff as they wanted to discuss the cases of the homeless women, particularly 2 of the women's cases that were present, the 2 women's cases were the worst of the cases they wanted to push for. The 2 women and their children didn't even have a roof over their heads not even a hotel room, B&B or the comfort of a friend's or family members sofa.

The photo shows the group meeting up in a local park around the corner from the DCC before they marched around and occupied the offices (small photo at bottom left). They have been talking with the local staff the most senior of which got on the phone to the main centre at Parkgate street.

They were then told to go to Parkgate street to get answers but very sensibly said no, they will remain in occupation until the head of the homeless section comes out to Bunratty to answer their questions.

The most senior member of staff then came back to the protesters and said Dublin City Council would pay for taxis for the 2 women so they could reach a solution to their plight. After a discussion between the protesters, they collectively decided the 2 women and 3 supporters would go with them to Parkgate street. At 1.30pm the 5 women left for Pargate street homeless unit.

While the 5 were negotiating; back in Coolock DCC the Garda (police in Irish) were called to remove the protesters that stayed behind.A sergeant from Coolock Garda station arrived and told the Bunratty staff that it was a civil matter there was nothing the Garda could do to remove the protesters.

Back in Pargate street the 5 were negotiating with the heads of the homeless unit for 1 and a half hours, the head of staff told the women that DCC would pay for a hotel or B&B if she could find the accommodation herself. And for the second woman the head of staff promised they'd find accommodation for her tomorrow (Tuesday the 15th of September). The 5 women then phone called the protesters in Coolock DCC office to discuss what steps to take next.

It was decided that the protesters would accept DCC's offer and that they would leave the offices to give DCC the chance to implement the deal they offered. The 5 women got taxis back to where the other protesters were. (DCC payed 120 euro for the taxis). If the 2 women get accommodation tomorrow it will be a small victory for the protesting women, it will be one step closer to their goal but there is still a long way to go.

The women that took part in the direct action done so with out the help of the local political representatives. They took the initiative themselves, fed up with politicians false promises and dragging their heels, they self-organized and took direct action against the state bureaucracy and fighting for their rights.

Words: Joe Conlon