Day of action on housing

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Housing activists are today [Saturday] holding a national day of action to highlight Ireland’s housing crisis amid increased repression by the 26 County police.

Take Back The City, a group of left-wing and republican activists comprising over 15 grassroots groups, have raised awareness of the housing and homelessness crises in recent weeks after occupying three properties in Dublin’s north inner city.

They have since been left two properties, but remain in one,

The occupations came to a head last week after six people were arrested following the eviction of a north city centre property by a masked gang supported by masked police. Gardai have refused to release details of the so-called ‘security firm’ involved, but they are widely believed to include loyalist paramilitaries.

Monday saw the deployment of armed Garda ‘SWAT’ teams for the eviction of a homeless family from emergency accommodation in Dublin’s north inner city. The couple and their two children, aged five and six, had been residing in the state emergency homeless accommodation for the past nine months.

Two armed support units, as well as ordinary Garda patrol units, turned up in support of property owners as they tried to throw the family out. A group of activists from Take Back The City gathered outside the property to support the family, but the stand-off ended peacefully.

The use of police and security ‘heavy gangs’ to carry out evictions has caused outrage in Ireland and has drawn the concern of international media.

“Hoarding vacant property during a property crisis is very much like hoarding food during a famine, it should not be allowed, it is not acceptable morally or ethically,” said Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin.

Conor Reddy, who was attacked and arrested at last week’s ‘Take Back the City’ protest, said: “We are the locked-out generation. We look at our futures and we see no hope really. We see low wages, we see these rents that are unaffordable, we see home ownership as a complete impossibility.”

Today, the group has called for a national day of action and is looking for grassroots groups, housing activists and community groups nationwide to organise in their own areas.

Events have been planned in counties across the country, including Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo.

On its Facebook page for today’s event, the organisation said: “The housing crisis is an island wide problem. It affects different areas in different ways, but has similar causes and effects. This is why a strong supportive movement across the entire island is so important.

“It’s time for the movement to grow. We’re calling on grassroots groups, housing activists, community groups nationwide to take action in their own areas.”

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