Left-wing activists have occupied a vacant former youth hostel in Dublin in order to provided housing to those in need.
A group of socialists and republicans reopened and symbolically renamed the building as ‘James Connolly House’ to mark May 1st, International Workers Day, and in honour of the socialist Easter Rising rebel who was executed in 1916.
“A number of people in need of housing have now been accommodated within the building and further plans are being worked on for the coming days and weeks,” according to a statement released on the Facebook page of the ‘Revolutionary Workers Union’.
“The deceased owner of the building stated that it should never be closed while homelessness remains and issue in Ireland.”
The housing crisis in the 26 Counties has reached the most acute levels, with rents for a one bedroom apartment in Dublin averaging at €1700 per month. With homeless numbers again climbing rapidly, there is immense pressure for the large numbers of derelict homes across the country to be reopened.
However, corrupt government officials have continued to favour developers and international investment funds in the construction of high-revenue new-build and build-to-rent properties, while ignoring vacant buildings.
Those behind the squat at Lefroy House, on Eden Quay in Dublin, say that in recent years the government had closed the former hostel at a time when hundreds of thousands of families are without a home, and hundreds of people are dying on our streets.
“We take this weekend initiatives a Revolutionary Housing Action in the face of deliberate inaction by the establishment across Ireland, and intend it to be a spark that helps to build the Militant, Working Class led All Ireland Housing Movement,” they said.
A traditional republican socialist flag, the Starry Plough of the Irish Citizen Army, was flown over the building – at half mast, in memory of those across Ireland who died due to homelessness.
Alongside it it, a banner reads ‘Housing for the People’, while another declares ‘Open all Vacant Homes’.
“These are the simple and clear demands of this action,” the activists said.
“We call on all who demand housing for our people to support this action, and we encourage housing activists across Ireland to take similar actions in opening empty buildings to house to those in need.
“In the words of Connolly and Larkin, ‘An Injury to one is the concern of All!. Join the fight for your class and your country- it’s time to take back what’s been taken.
“Housing for the People Now!”