The Firehouse Squat on Gardiner place prior to eviction – video report


This is the story of another occupied
house or squat in central Dublin at Gardiner Place just off Parnell Square We first saw it a couple of weeks back and we called back the following day to find out what the story was. You’ll find abandoned buildings like this all over the city they are normally easy enough to spot because they have been boarded up. Because this one had been occupied the inhabitants had already removed some of the shuttering from so there is daylight. The place was nicknamed the Firehouse Squat because a couple of years previously there had been a fire that had gutted one of the rooms on the ground floor and done smoke damage to almost had voted one of the rooms on the ground floor and don’t smoke damage to almost the entire ground floor. As you went up to
thought the house though the conditions improved and it turned out to be relatively
habitable. However the ground floor and indeed the entire house had been left
abandoned for quite some considerable amount of time- as far as we were able to tell since the previous tenants had been evicted by the landlord. The
problem with that though is it turned out there was still a high court
injunction in place that had enabled there eviction and so no sooner had the
current occupants moved into the house that they too were served with an
eviction order. They then contacted Solidarity Times asking us if we perhaps
could do some video coverage of his new house that was occupied and tell the back story in the expectation that the eviction that was coming off could be
resisted. In actual fact what happened was the following Friday before nine
o’clock in the morning a very large squad of riot police turned up and using
it kind of Roman tortise shield type formation smashed their way through the
doors, charged into the house grabbed the occupants and dragged them down to the High Court where they had to pledge to actually leave the premises. So this
Firehouse squat is once more an abandoned house. A familiar Dublin pattern where evictions
simply generate homelessness As anyone who has been following
Solidarity Times over the last month will know that this is a typical story
of the struggle that’s been going on in central Dublin particularly north
central Dublin where there’s a huge number of abandoned buildings and where people have occupied those buildings in order to convert them once more into homes. Many of these occupations have been met with eviction; some of these evictions
have been illegal and violend involving heavies; some of these have followed
court proceedings and a couple have followed injunctions. The best known of them of course being eviction of the Grangegorman complex about 4 months back. Its significanct that if you go down to that complex today you’ll see it still
lies more or less abandoned. In fact at least some of the
people in this particular occupation would have also been involved in those
previous occupations and they have had the experience over the last few months of being evicted from one home they’ve made after the other All so that these buildings can be turned
back into speculation pieces for Irish capitalism. It’s no exaggeration to say
that what’s happening with these sort of places is there just like pieces that
have been returned to a monopoly board so that people who’ve already got a vast
amounts of money can trade those pieces with each other to become even richer.
Meanwhile the housing crisis in Dublin escalates and people like the people who
lived here and were doing something to create their own homes are targeted by
both private capital and the state. This sort of property speculation which
involves long periods of deliberate dereliction also causes problems for the
communities where these buildings are located. Kids for instance will often get into
these abandoned houses inside they arequite dangerous or what happens in this place
happens where which is heroin addicts end up using them as shooting galleries and in this
case they were simply tossing their needles out the window onto that roof below.
Not that the speculators could give a damn, they don’t live here they live far out of the city or in posh suburbs like Dalkey or Foxrock At the start of the summer it was revealed there are something like 300,000 empty homes in Ireland A lot of people assumed that
a large proportion of that number must be ghost estates, housing estates built at
the height of the boom, hours from the major cities that nobody actually really
wants to live in any more. The coverage of evictions we’ve done in the last four
months over here on Solidarity Times however suggests a very different story.
We’ve now covered about half a dozen that have all happens within about the half kilometer between Phisboro and the city center but we are also aware of a few other occupied
buildings in that same sort of general area in some cases where people have
been living in them for as long as two years and in addition just walking
around the streets and indeed talking to people organizing these occupations it’s
clear there were many many more buildings in this area alone. So at the
same time that island in general and Dublin in particular is seeing a housing
crisis of massive proportions, probably the biggest the state has ever faced.
We are seeing a situation in which there are empty buildings to be found everywhere
but as soon as anybody moves in to occupy them then the court issue orders
for them to be evicted and the guards move in to carry out the dirty work. This is all business as usual. The Fianna Fail tent at the Galway races was infamous for the entertainment of property developers who financed Fianna Fail but FineGael and Labour Party governments have proven to be no
different than this. And also of course it’s not entirely coincidental that the
2014 register of interests discovered that almost one-third of TD’s are also
landlords! Let’s return for a last look at the now evicted Firehouse squat.
One thing of interest is that the inhabitants were not simply humans but
there were pets there as well. These two guys hopefully will have
found a new home by now. This To Fix list will probably never
have been completed before the eviction happened Reporting for Solidarity Times give us a
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