"These were assaults, plain and simple" - Activist injured during North Frederick Street eviction speaks out
"We are many, they are few."
A group of activists from a network of grassroots groups focused on combatting Dublin's housing crisis were arrested on Tuesday night following the eviction of a vacant home which was being occupied by protestors at the time.
A private security firm, aided by Gardaí, carried out a High Court Injunction to evict the protestors from the property at 34 North Frederick Street on Tuesday night – leading to a number of people from becoming injured as a result of their forced exit.
Take Back The City (TBTC), a network of 18 grassroots groups from which the activists came, has hit out at the Gardaí for its role in last night's eviction of protestors in Dublin city centre. They claim that six people were arrested, while Gardaí maintain that it was just five.
Speaking to JOE, Eoin from TBTC told us, in his own words, exactly what happened.
"Between 6.30pm and 7pm on Tuesday night, between 15 and 20 men in balaclavas in an unmarked van – with no tax or insurance and a UK registration number at its rear – arrived outside 34 North Frederick Street armed with electric saws and power tools to break down the door.
"None of them had any identification on them. This is something that we're keen to get across due to the fact that security guards of all types are legally required to wear identity badges at all times while working."
The TBTC spokesperson is referring to the Private Security (Identity Badge) Regulations 2009, which makes it mandatory for all licensed bouncers and security employees to wear one of two types of identity badges while on duty.
These regulations were set out by the Private Security Authority (PSA), the statutory body with responsibility for licensing and regulating the private security sector in Ireland.
"Every employee has to wear a badge or use one supplied by their employers, these are the guidelines set out by the statuary body," Eoin continued.
The private security employees were joined by three members of An Garda Síochána, a Garda Riot Squad, a Public Order Unit, a Garda Transit Connect van one Garda Jeep with dogs.
"The Garda presence was protecting illegal actions, and as a result of those actions, out of the six people who were arrested, four people were presented to hospital."
One of those four was Conchúir Ó Raidaigh who took to Facebook fresh from hospital with a list of his ailments.
"Still processing everything that happened last night," the post read.
"Just out of hospital myself with concussion and injuries to my neck that will need further attention. In total four of us needed medical attention last night after brutality from masked cops and the balaclava'd, criminal, loyalist security firm.
"These were assaults, plain and simple," he concluded.
Eoin confirmed that the four injured sustained shoulder injuries, deep wounds and a number of cuts. He also confirmed that one of the activists was thrown down the stairs during the operation.
The group has since condemned the Gardaí's actions in a statement released online.
Press statement re: yesterday's arrests and treatment of activists pic.twitter.com/NZBdErE2zD
— Take Back The City - Dublin (@TBTCDublin) September 12, 2018
The Gardaí have also since released a statement, claiming that "the eviction itself was peaceful."
TBTC think otherwise.
"Our argument is that 20 balaclava'd men in an unregistered van arrived with saws. We wouldn't necessarily call that a peaceful eviction," Eoin responded.
"The nature of the eviction was very aggressive. It's ridiculous to call anything about last night peaceful."
Main image via Conchúir Ó Raidigh Facebook