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

category dublin | housing | other press author Friday November 01, 2013 22:06author by T Report this post to the editors

There is a new squat in Dublin up in Grangegorman where all the DITs will be moving in the next few years. It has been setup by a group of political squatters. They now face eviction from the row of empty, unused, rotting houses in Lower Grangegorman and they are asking people to come and help resist.

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

The WSM caught up with them for an interview last week to find out more....

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.

Here are some quotes from the WSM report:

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."

Clearly the state is more interested in allowing the houses to rot and protecting investors than in looking after people, encouraging affordable housing and revitalizing communities.

Full report can be found at the link below.

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie/c/political-squat-facing-eviction-grangegorman
author by Blake - Squatting: or enforcement of utility on owners of propertiespublication date Thu Nov 07, 2013 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What a mess this LPT seems to be? The phone call cost me 18 euros early this year and I thought I was covered by paying by direct debit from my bank account the property tax. For older people, for people with acquired brain injury, mental health problems, people with intellectual difficulties, this effusion of bureaucracy is stifling and pushing people with vulnerabilities further into the realms of underclass to be targeted by new laws that make you culpable for not paying your taxes even though the reason may be inability due to complexity. Do I have to phone again? If you are on disability payments, costs like 18 euros for phone calls to register, now bank charges over 100 euros pa so that you can pay your your disability payments, the exchange factor if disability is from the UK, life is becoming a hornets nest of complications. The net amount of basic income, be it from employment, to disabilities, to unemployment, jobseekers allowance, to old age pension is being eaten away with charges and the bias is blatant, the wealthy are entitled to own properties and be tax exiles, those who choose to hold a property portfolio needing no present income flow but who seek capital gain are equally indulged, with the LPT being just a blip.

You may say what has this to do with squatting but it has because there are people now unemployed, under employed, in negative equity and facing eviction, who need a voice and that voice needs to say that Government will not sustain long term the non utility of properties (particularly by tax exiles) while people are on their knees with worry as to where they will live next week, next month, next year. There is obligation now to ensure that properties are not left vacant, nearing dereliction. There needs to be provision of properties so that charities like Habitat can work with people in need of housing to take ownership of some of these houses and make them homes again. This is about re-activating construction in a market that exists presently.

Squatting, no it is unfair because if a person buys a property or a family member does, technically they own it and they have the right in a democracy to choose what way they want to do with property ie to leave it vacant, to give it to family members for use, to rent it to a third party for rent. Once the owner is willing to pay all the taxes relating to the house and this includes probate if the previous owner has died, then they should be entitled to leave the property vacant but only for a period of time. Too often in Dublin particularly there are many of the houses in locations like North Circular Road, Fitzwilliam Square, Merrion Square, Waterloo Road, and many other places that are left year after year to rot. Legislation was passed in February of this year which put a significant shift on landlords who had many of these properties let out in multiple units, sometimes as many as 10 people living in a house with totally inadequate provisions for fire and safety, sanitary conditions. The owners of these properties were notified 4 years ago that changes were needed and this has resulted in many people being forced out of flats and in some cases into hostel living or local authority estates. The objective, it is suggested, is that the aim is for these houses to return to single family houses and the recent tax breaks for pre 1915 built homes seems to confirm this. The tax advantage is about returning them to family homes so the question remains what happens to the other nine who had to leave, some having being resident for over 20 years.

Squatting. People tell me that different countries deal with empty houses in different ways. Apparently, but I am subject to clarification, in Germany there are many houses left vacant and if squatters move in; are prepared to pay a minimal amount to the local authority, are prepared to maintain the house or even improve it, then squatting becomes partial ownership. If you live in Paris and you live in a period house like our Georgian houses, then after one year of non utility the equivalent local authorities expedite legal proceedings for possession of the house and the property is maintained and becomes a commercial asset to either be sold or rented out.

Dublin 2, 4, 6, 8 is a haven of potential squats. Too many tattered buildings are being lost to outright negligence by Dublin City Council. Many tell us that there are ways to tackle this problem and that the local authorities have powers to take over these homes. Instead, adjacent to the US embassy and for that matter the Israeli embassy and many more, there are bedraggled houses with no occupants sitting waiting for a time when people will either develop them for massive profits or convert them either to apartments, single family homes or rent them out as embassies. The question is how long should these people be allowed to leave houses in a near derelict state, while there are so many people without homes and in need of homes. Pembroke Crescent is worth looking at. Even today a price for one of these 3 storey over basement houses is in excess of 1 m euros yet a derelict monstrosity forms part of the row and it is now painted at basement level Pink but there is no evidence of anyone living there for years.

We need smart sustainable urban locations. Squatting just for the sake of it can never be endorsed but a policy like that in Germany or for that matter France is to be promoted and it is time for Dublin City Council to start paving the way for policies and urgent action.

Squatting cannot be allowed but I must agree that the temptation is considerable and as the Troika exodus reprimands the Central Bank for not forcing those in negative equity to restructure their loans and the reality that many people will over the next few months be facing eviction notices, those with a conscience must seek an alternative to wastage of properties and homes for the many who need them.


author by Dublin Squatterpublication date Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

''Squatting cannot be allowed''

There's a police-man inside you head, kill him... It's a pity to see an indymedia user using cop language. And about it not being allowed, too bad, we'll take what we need.

author by Blake - Social Justice and Equalitypublication date Fri Mar 21, 2014 16:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You say 'police talk inside my head'. No just highlighting the housing crisis as it exists in Dublin in 2013 which is now compounded by the imminent evictions that people face as the private equity funds buy up properties and decide who will own what; who will be the landlord or will they sell on and let people who can afford to take out mortgages or buy houses for cash enter the market.

The An Taoiseach Enda Kenny speech while celebrating St Patrick's day in the US ruffled some feathers. A great opportunity to state that Ireland is in revival mode and people are looking for houses again. The truth is prices are rising in Dublin but then market supply demand theory provides for this given we are now six years embedded in recession.

Realities must be recognised.

Tokenism tells us that there are individualised deals being negotiated by our State owned bank AIB. Write-downs of amounts of approx e200,000 are finally being provided but beware of that big bad wolf called profit margins and the actuarial expertise that abates what will be a quite different story over the next few years. These deals apply only within a very narrow framework for people who most likely can continue to repay the adjusted amount for the lifetime of the mortgage, which in fact may even be extended to say 30 years.

Constantin Gurdgiev, Professor Morgan Kelly provide more realistic figures and are not as influenced by these quite significantly well timed offers made by AIB (pls note not by Bank of Ireland, and others). Bank of Ireland, quite interestingly, had intervention by one of these private equity giants - the face being a Mr Wilbur Ross. This man of influence bought in and bought out just recently trebling his money over approx 2 year time frame. The question now is where will Mr Wilbur Ross invest next and if he thinks Ireland is still a land of opportunity to make a quick buck in a short space of time.

Questions we need to keep asking:-

100,000 people on the housing list for social housing presently, a significant increase over the past number of years. This number is on the ascent.

Then ask how many social housing schemes are being constructed. Unlike previous decades, mention of some 425 social houses have been built over the last 2 years. How can this tap such inordinate demand and need for housing?

Then ask how many private houses are being built; nothing to cater for demand, I would suggest. Hence the commentary in our newspapers and more importantly from our Taoiseach to urge investors (even those who can deNamatise themselves or become bankrupt overseas) to re-focus on Ireland and its existing need for more properties to avert a housing demand crisis.

Could it be possible that there are so many vacant homes as per the previous poster? We know that Dublin City Council and other local authorities appear to drag their heels when it comes to refurbishing their existing stock of properties. Some say there are as many as 3,500 potential homes just being laid waste to vandalism.

Multi-family is the new word in town. Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson, Lone Star, are names we need to get used to as they change Ireland from the idea of being a home owner to a home renter. IBRC in liquidation has stocks of properties and these are the bidders. These groups will significant change who is eligible to have a property and guess work would suggest that it won't be people who receive the HAT formerly the rent allowance.

250,000 are said to be in search of homes.

Homelessness is worse than ever.

Justice Dunne placed a hiccup in the legislation that prevented the Banks from evicting owners of properties when they failed to pay their mortgages. This is no longer the case and we now know that the courts are receiving considerably more orders to evict people. Where will these families go? I would suggest that the deals we are reading about from the AIB apply to people who have employment and who can pay a reduced amount of mortgage. In other words they are in sound employment with life insurance policies.

A recommendation:

Google on you-tube Morgan Kelly lecture on economics

Go to Tedx talks Ireland and listen to Constantin Gurdgiev

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