Housing activists brutally arrested
Housing activists brutally arrested


A building in Dublin that has been empty for more than two years which was occupied by homeless housing activists was subjected to a violent and illegal Garda eviction on Monday.

The incident took place in the Liberties at a building that has been empty for six years, the former site of the ‘Pimlico Tavern’.

According to Social Rights Ireland, a human rights group based in Dublin, the apartments had been designated by Dublin City Council for use by the homeless and had been occupied as such.

However, at Monday lunchtime, the occupants were suddenly confronted by a Garda armed support unit, along with emergency services, including fire brigade and ambulance.

“The state’s unnecessary waste of resources should have been used instead to help homeless people and others in need, not evict them,” they said in a statement.

“An illegal eviction unconstitutionally violated the basic rights of people inside who had set up a home.

“No eviction notice was served. Nor was there any attempt to discuss the issue in a civil way with people inside or outside the building despite the best efforts from people inside and activists supporting the action outside.

“Brute force was used to gain access by the Gardaí who have no authority to get involved in civil disputes as it is not their jurisdiction to partake in a civil matter. No crimes had been committed here - other than the crime of seeking shelter.”

They accused Gardaí of using “torture techniques” against peaceful housing activists, singling out one holding a republican socialist ‘Starry Plough’ flag .

“Surrounded by approximately 15 shielded public order gardai and armed support unit, the person was punched, kicked and aggressively pushed to the ground, sustaining numerous injuries,” they said.

“Medical reports confirm bruising all over the body limbs and torso, and lacerations to the head, specifically to the temporal area. The person felt the full, hateful anger of the attack which took place where the Guards knew there were no cameras or witnesses.

“Unusually, the Gardaí made aggressive demands for banners and flags, specifically asking for Palestinian flags. This begs the question, what is so provocative about Palestinian flags?

“A person who had been there seeking shelter was also arrested. The person was never once offered a chance to leave of their own accord or explain their situation or reason for being there. Being left distressed and shook up by the violent actions in the building, this person was also unlawfully detained against their will.

“Outside the building, supporters, including local people and activist groups were aggressively pushed back while multiple roads and pavements were cordoned off, restricting access to everyone, including residents of the area.

“Further arrests were made to innocent bystanders who were simply observing the situation. Multiple, unnecessary arbitrary arrests were made. Subsequently people were released with no charge showing that they had done nothing wrong in the first place.

“It has to be said, it was heartening to see such solidarity and comradeship amongst so many activist groups, local people and others in Ireland.”

The arrest operation continued until the early hours of Tuesday morning, when plain clothes Gardaí and other unidentified individuals “were employed to throw (an activist) from the balcony”.

“While detained, one of the activists was stripped and left naked for hours without dignity. He was subjected to degrading treatment as he was mocked and humiliated.

“The action of the Gardaí has clearly contravened local law, constitutional law, the European convention on human rights and the Geneva Convention.”

They accused homeless charity Focus Ireland, Dublin City Council and private interests alongside the Gardaí of “working in collaboration to maintain the homeless industry”.

“Homelessness is now state policy. It could be ended overnight. Homeless people have been commodified. In the midst of a homeless and housing crisis, the state’s reaction is to replace social care with a homeless industry.”

Community Action Tenants Union (CATU), a union for renters and tenants, and republican socialist group Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland (AIA) also expressed their support for the activists.

“Housing and homeless activists highlighting vacancy in the midst of an artificial housing crisis are not criminals and should not be arrested or brought before the courts,” said AIA.

“There are enough empty homes in Ireland to house all in need, the struggle for homes for all must be continued until it is a reality.”

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