Housing groups accuse Gardaí of "defending illegal activity" at Dublin eviction
Take Back The City, a network of 18 grassroots groups focused on combatting Dublin's housing crisis, has hit out at the Gardaí for its role in last night's eviction of protestors in Dublin city centre.
Five activists were arrested on 11 September after 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.
"Between 18:30 and 19:00, 15-20 men arrived outside 34 North Frederick Street in a van with no registration plate at its front and a UK registration number at its rear. They proceeded to enter the building using electric saws and power tools," the group said.
Take Back The City is arguing that the security employees who secured the building failed to wear appropriate identity badges.
"None of these men were wearing any identification to indicate the name of their employer, in direct contravention of the Private Security (Identity Badge) Regulations 2009 which state:
“It is mandatory for all licensed bouncers and security employees to wear one of two types of identity badges while on duty. Under the new rules, employers can either wear their existing license card as a badge or may use one which has been supplied by their employer, so long as it complies with guidelines set out by the Private Security Authority (PSA), the statutory body with responsibility for licensing and regulating the private security sector in Ireland."
We need as much support outside Frederick Street as possible for the eviction happening right now! pic.twitter.com/svTBsArlVW
— Take Back The City - Dublin (@TBTCDublin) September 11, 2018
The statement goes on to claim that 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.
Video footage from the scene appears to show that the Gardaí in attendance were also masked.
"It is important to highlight that, as the security firm sent to enter the building contravened the above legislation, An Garda Siochana therefore defended an illegal activity and arrested activists who opposed this illegal activity," the group has said.
The statement goes on to claim that "several of those arrested subsequently presented to hospital for treatment on injuries sustained before and during their arrests".
34 North Frederick Street, which is owned by Patricia Ní Gréil, had been vacant for three years prior to the occupation. Ireland's current homeless population stands at just under 10,000.
Gardaí have issued their own statement in response to the accusation, and confirmed that activists were arrested for public order offences and "assaults on Garda members".
"Gardaí were at the scene of a High Court Ordered eviction at North Frederick Street. The Garda's only role in the proceedings was to prevent a breach of the peace. The eviction itself was peaceful. However, a large crowd gathered on the street and 5 people (1 woman & 4 men) were subsequently arrested for public order offences and assaults on Garda members."
"Two were charged and bailed to appear at Ct No 1, CCJ Parkgate St on the 2nd of October at 10.30am. Two received Adult cautions. One released without charge and a file is being prepared for the DPP."