Squat's the Story? Political squat facing eviction in Grangegorman

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Date:

A group of political squatters in Dublin are facing eviction from a row of empty, unused, rotting houses in Lower Grangegorman. We got a chance to speak to them and hear their side of the story. They are calling for people to come and help them resist eviction from Wednesday onwards.

-- 300,000 empty houses in Ireland, 5,000 people homeless --

After the arrival of Gardaí on Thursday and Friday (24th & 25th October) squatters in a row of occupied empty houses in Lower Grangegorman are facing eviction from their homes. They are calling for supporters to gather at the house to show solidarity and help them to resist this invasion of their home.

The squatters are occupying a complex of three empty houses in Lower Grangegorman. The houses were found in a delapidated condition, left empty to decay and fall apart. The current residents have been living there for several weeks and have been working to repair the homes and make them habitable.

Sam, who has been living in the middle house for several weeks commented, "With the number of empty houses in Ireland estimated at over 300,000,with 600 ghost estates and up to 5,000 homeless people in Ireland at any one time, it makes sense that these empty houses become homes for people. That is exactly what we are doing, squatting empty houses in Dublin."

Lee added, "The house had fallen into disrepair, with broken windows, rotting floorboards and mould growing on the walls. When squatters move into a house they make it their home, they fix these things, they work together." "The idea is simple: it is better that a house has inhabitants who take care of it than for nobody to take care of it. Shelter is a basic human need and it doesn't make sense that there are landlords who own more property than they can use. Here in Ireland the council is supposed to provide housing, but the list for housing is absurdly long - it often takes years to get yourself a gaff, while thousands of houses lie empty. Squatting is an act of resistance: resistance against ridiculously high rents, resistance against greed and resistance against the destruction of our communities."

Lee continued "Two men, one of whom claimed to be the owner of the property, kicked in the door of our home on Thursday afternoon with a hammer in his hand while some of us were eating lunch and others doing much-needed repair and decoration work. They ordered everyone to leave the house and called the Gardaí. They said that they wanted to see 'vacant properties', presumably wanting them to return to their rotting, delapidated condition. The left-most house in the row, our house, was then boarded-up immediately."

Workers returned on Friday with Gardaí to illegally board up the remaining houses. They were told firmly by the residents that they had no right to do this. They did not have the proper paperwork or legal authorisation to evict the residents. The Gardaí informed the squatters that they would return on Wednesday to complete the eviction.

Jess explains "In the afternoon, agents claiming to be acting on behalf of the alleged 'owners' (supposedly a well-known international investment bank) called to the other two houses and informed us that they were boarding them up. They called the Gardaí and ordered us all to leave. Naturally, we chose to ignore the direction of these unidentified, aggressive strangers and remain in our home."

Jay concluded "We are still unsure whether the authorities will keep their promise to return on Wednesday, and so we're asking everyone who can to make themselves available to come and support us in resisting this eviction from our home when and if they do. We want to invite everyone to come down here on Wednesday and talk to us and hear what we have to say, hang out with us. We live here and we're not leaving. Squatting is a way of empowering people, instead of giving money to a faceless landlord, we are taking back the city for everyone."

"Stop the Rot, Save our Squat!"

We will be providing updates as the situation develops via the WSM Twitter account with occasional news stories via our Facebook page

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