Word broke out around three o’clock today that there was an eviction taking place on Manor St. This rabbler slurped down the last of his coffee and sprinted over to the hipster side of D7 to find out what was going on.
Not much to be honest when I got there. The cops had long since gone, having came round earlier in the day – but they left with an “implicit threat” of returning in force at a later stage.
A crowd of about 10 or so friends had gathered around in support of the occupants. The house is located along the strip starting at Kavanaghs in Stoneybatter. In the time old tradition of these sort of things, there was a general reluctance for people to have their photos taken so excuse me for not delivering on that front. They were more than chatty though and there’s tea and biscuits on the go if people want to drop by.
It was around school knocking off time, and a few local kids were buzzing off the lads outside who were collecting a petition from passers by. Car horns were beeping every few minutes too.
“They’re fucking deadly” the school girls shrieked at each other as they headed off home.
The squat, which has gone through multiple occupancy, had the heat drawn down on it because a neighbour reportedly rang the cops and said it had been broken into. Outside of this, there’s lots of support kicking in from around the neighbourhood – that’s evident just standing there for half an hour.
One of the squatters Shane told me: “We have a neighbour next door, who’s used the garden. We’ve talked to them – they know we are here.”
Another called Charlotte said “When we were fixing the windows two weeks ago everyone that was passing was like ‘great job, everyone was really happy – the front garden looks nice, everyone looks happy we are doing something with the house because it has been abandoned. The windows have been broken for ever. Everyone knows its been empty, so they can see the work ”
Shane followed up with: “this is the first time we have done, a ‘hello everyone, this is us squatting blatant and public about it and we are really happy with how its going.”
The house is in a fairly rough state, but the renovation work carried out by the squatters is evident – even given their obvious limited resources. The later half of the audio report below contains details of the damage the landlord inflicted on the house and the present occupiers efforts to fix it up. Including some ingenious use of pallets. At the end we got some opinions off some mouthy local school kids who were well on the side of squatters.
There’s nothing new about this – while today might seem like a scene from continental Europe played out in Dublin, just take a look around online and you’ll find there’s a rich history of this stuff in the city. There was even a freesheet back in 1969 dedicated to squatting news in the Dublin. Terry Fagan also spoke to us about his youthful memories of housing struggles in the Northside a few months ago too.
Let’s hope this one turns out better.