3rd building occupied by Take Back the City campaign in Dublin


Saturday 8th of September saw another building occupied in Dublin as part of the Take Back the City campaign, this is the 3rd occupation in a little over a month.  The new occupied building is on 41 Belvedere Place as the video shows over 100 people gathered outside in support of the occupation.

The Take Back the city campaign activists had gathered at the GPO earlier that evening and then marched as a block up O'Connell Street to the site of the current occupation.  At one point the chants on the march named the three largest political parties who have been in government this decade “Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail’ with the response “Jail, jail, jail them all.”  The Labour Party is now in opposition and doing its usual about turn to insert itself into struggles as if it was somehow not responsible for the policies being fought against.  

Our footage moves on to some taken early in the week which shows the second building occupied  on Frederick Street not far from the current occupation.  The first building occupied on Summerhill Place was abandoned after an injunction was granted, power the decision was taken to hang onto Frederic street when that was injuncted a couple of weeks ago.  So far the Garda have not dared move to enforce that injunction.

We then show a boarded up building, there was a previous round of occupation’s around 2015 all of which were evicted. Unlike the current phase they aimed to provide accommodation for people through the direct action of occupying and moving people in.  In contrast so far the current campaign has activists taking buildings to highlight the number of vacant homes that have been left empty, with over 100 people volunteering to do shifts to keep them occupied. 

This aspect is controversial as there is still much lower key squatting going on but it would be logical, as the current campaign builds, to turn the occupied buildings in to homes if and when the intimidatory effect of injunctions is removed.  There are no meaningful ’squatters rights’ in Ireland which is why speculators feel safe leaving so many usable homes lying empty while huge numbers of people are caught up in the housing crisis.  In other European cities as other times the presence of strong ’squatters right’ meant not only directly housing thousands of people but also meant speculators were far more inclined to rent out buildings rather than leaving them empty.

Our footage shows the Bolt hostel but this isn't footage from 2015 this was taken last week, three years after the court ordered eviction when it still lies empty.  The Bolt is a particularly strong example as the building was in a relatively good state and a team of volunteers were using it to provide emergency accommodation.

These occupations are taking place in the context of a terrible housing crisis that exists in Dublin and other Irish cities.  In Dublin it's probably the case that almost every worker is now affected by the crisis. Rents are skyhigh, so to are property prices but wages for most workers remain very low. A huge amount of workers are probably spending up to 50% of  their income on either rent or mortgage repayments.

In addition the rental sector has no security attached to it at all. It's easy to evict tenants, the legal protections are mostly a joke. All this needs needs to change