Tag Archives: Take Back The City

From top: A demonstration on North Frederick Street following the forced removal of housing activists from a vacant property on the street last week; Marian Finucane; Anthony Sheridan.

When RTÉ was a national broadcaster the station provided a reasonably balanced news output. In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens, news manipulation has taken precedence over factual reporting and professional analysis.

On yesterday’s Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio One, for example, listeners were subjected to an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion on the disturbing events that occurred on North Frederick street during the week involving Gardai and housing protesters:

Panelist: “In fairness, Josephine Feehily and Drew Harris came out and said, no, that shouldn’t have happened.”

Marian Finucane: “And yet and yet and yet..its tough on gardai. I thought it looked… I mean I was astonished at how it had come about.”

Panelist: “Look, there is an issue around social media , there’s no doubt about that, but look, we expect to see people in balaclavas in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see gardai in balaclavas policing genuine protests about housing.”

Another panelist: “I think the public were very, very upset about it and I’m thinking of something Theo Dorgan said once ‘I thought I was born into a republic’ and you see these private balaclava-clad guards arriving in a van. But protesting has changed, I think the gardai are very measured in the way they handle the physical and verbal abuse they get.”

Then another panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Ms Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Ms Finucane, seemingly delighted at the diversion, went on to reminisce about another protest she attended in the last century – and that was it.

That was the sum total analysis of the disgraceful and disturbing events in North Frederick Street where the gardai behaved more like second-rate nightclub bouncers than a professional police force.

Possibly under pressure by her producer to keep discussion of this embarrassing Government/gardai scandal to an absolute minimum, Finucane, in a fluster, did as she was instructed.

“Mmm…well…ah…I mean..we’ll move on very quickly. I think that deserves more conversation but I’m just watching my clock here and…”

Watching her clock? The discussion was taking place just half way through a two-hour long show and this major public interest story gets a grand total of 1 minute 56 seconds coverage.

This is not news analysis, it’s blatant news manipulation. No doubt, Fine Gael and the gardai are delighted with RTÉ’s collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTÉ cannot escape the fact that, day by day, its reputation as a professional and balanced current affairs outlet is reaching the same zero credibility rating as that of our police force.

RTÉ news bias – Destroying credibility (Anthony Sheridan, Public Inquiry)

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

Previously: Garda Sources Say

Meanwhile…

There you go now.

From top: Masked gardai at North Frederick Street on Tuesday night; Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

The use of hoods by gardaí attending a protest on North Frederick Street in Dublin earlier this week was not correct, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.

In a statement, Mr Harris said the use of fire retardant hoods by public order officers is a matter for the operational commander on the scene.

However, he said the form of dress used by gardaí at the “event was not correct as it is policy that if it deemed necessary to use the hood then it should be used in tandem with a protective helmet“.

” The people who had occupied the building left the building peacefully in accordance with the High Court order. Subsequent to this, a small crowd failed to leave the area despite repeated warnings from An Garda Síochána under the Public Order Act and five people were arrested.”

….The newly appointed commissioner also said he has requested a report from Patrick Leahy, the Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region, “to see what lessons can be learnt from the event.

Harris says use of hoods by gardaí ‘was not correct’ (RTÉ)

Meanwhile…

“I think like a lot of people, I didn’t like to see a private security firm in balaclavas, that’s the kind of image that anybody doesn’t want to see on their TV screens.

However, when it comes to gardai, they were wearing hoods in one and ski masks in the other. They are wearing hoods in case there is a risk of fire or something being thrown at them and they wear the ski masks in some cases to protect their identities.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hits out at balaclava wearing ‘heavies’ from Dublin housing protest (Irish Mirror)

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

Earlier…

From top: protest on North fFederick Street, Dublin last night; This morning’s Irish Times

On Tuesday late afternoon, “a private firm acting for the owner of the premises” supported by gardai forced their way into 34 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1,  vacant for three years, using an angle grinder and a sledgehammer.

Five people were arrested and at least one person was hospitalised during the removal in which some gardai used batons.

Claims made by Take Back the City, the Irish Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International Ireland concerning the tactics used and the ‘frightening’ optics were this morning refuted by Garda sources, according to the Irish Times.

Via Conor Lally the paper’s security and crime editor:

Garda sources have disputed much of what the group has claimed. They say the incident was not an eviction, pointing out those in the building were occupying it as a protest action for weeks, had never lived there and had no substantive link to it.

So. Not an eviction.

They further point out the building was office space before it became vacant some years ago and has not been a residence for many years.

OK. Not even a house.

The protesters had been ordered by the High Court to leave the building by August 28th and had declined to do so.

Justifying the masked men?

A number of men wearing balaclavas, who were acting for the landlord, used power tools to gain access on Tuesday evening to remove the small number of protesters still left inside.

And who were they?

The men wearing the balaclavas were not working for a security company. Instead, they work for a company specialising in taking possession of assets, usually when a dispute of ownership has arisen.

Really?

It may seem like a subtle distinction but it means they contravened no laws in declining to identify themselves to the protesters. And that means the Garda was not supporting an illegal action, as has been claimed.

And the gardai wearing balaclavas?

The balaclavas worn by the public order gardaí are part of the Garda “tactical” uniform and they are a safety item; to protect from corrosive liquids and burns.

Ah now.

However, Garda sources said few gardaí deployed to police an event that they suspect will be dubbed an “eviction” would want to be photographed or videoed at it.

They wear them to events they suspect may be called something else by somebody?

And because of the stigma involved, and because they cannot choose their tasks, gardaí will often wear their balaclavas to conceal their identities.

To recap: not an eviction, not a house, not a security company and not balaclavas but identity-concealing safety masks.

Nothing to see here.

Move along, folks.

Claim and counterclaim over end of Dublin ‘occupation’ (Conor Lally, Irish Times)

Last night: Not Backing Down

Previously: The Irish Times Says Sorry To Maurice McCabe

Maurice McCabe And The irish Times Part 1 and Part 2

Meanwhile

Go about your business.

Please, folks.

Andrew Butler was one of the people injured during the eviction of housing activists from the occupied 34 Frederick Street North, Dublin 1, on Tuesday night.

In the clip above, filmed at last night’s rally in support of the activists, he describes what happened to him.

He received four stitches to his hand (see above) in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, following the eviction.

Via Nugent Eugent

Meanwhile…

Last night.

In Trinity News.

Journalist Peter Kelly reported on an interview with Trinity College Dublin student Conchúir Ó Ráidigh who was arrested and later released on Tuesday evening, following the removal of housing activists from 34 Frederick Street North, Dublin 1 – after it was occupied for 25 days.

Mr Kelly reported:

Recalling his arrest, Ó Ráidigh told Trinity News that he was “grabbed” on entering North Frederick Street last night as Gardaí evicted occupiers. “They grabbed me, three or four of them, more or less instantaneously the minute I stepped onto the road.” He added that “usually you’d expect some kind of warning like ‘get off the road’ or ‘move over there’ and if you comply you’re okay and you won’t get that treatment.”

“They dragged me pretty strategically behind the parked garda public order unit van and there I got pretty badly roughed up,” said Ó Ráidigh. He remembered the incident and said that: “I was out of view of everybody, but they were putting punches into me, I got knees, I got elbows and the most serious thing I got was a knee to the head.”

He recalled that he was “adrenalised [sic]” and so “didn’t really feel” the pain at the time. “It wasn’t quite as noticeable, and when I got into the cell I could feel it getting worse and worse.”

Later in the night, Ó Ráidigh went to hospital for his injuries. He stated that: “I had very low energy and the decision was made that I had to go to hospital. I was taken, and I had scans taken through the night.”

Outlining his injuries, Ó Ráidigh reports that he suffered soft tissue damage through his neck, a small bone deviation, and a concussion. He was also told there was a possible “small bleed” in his brain.

Arrested Trinity student Conchúir Ó Ráidigh speaks out on his injuries (Peter Kelly, Trinity News)

Earlier: Garda Sources Say

Yesterday: Not Backing Down

This evening.

Scenes from the Take Back The City rally.

The rally started with housing activists and supporters gathering at 34, Frederick Street North, Dublin 1 – from which housing activists were removed last night.

They then started making their way, stopping off at Parnell Monument, to another occupied house on Belvedere Place where activists have been ordered to leave by 6pm tomorrow.

Follow here

Previously: What’s Going On Here?

‘How Can You Justify These Actions?’

Questions For Drew

Pics Rollingnews and Take Back The City

According to the source of the top pic, the Greater Manchester Police van was due to be auctioned in 2014.

Anyone?

Pics: Flickr and Jack Power

Earlier: ‘How Can You Justify These Actions?’

Yesterday: What’s Going On Here?

Related: Van used by masked men to secure Dublin property not taxed since 2014 (Jack Power, The Irish Times)

At 34 North Frederick Street in Dublin yesterday evening

This morning.

Further to last night’s removal of housing activists by private security members and gardai from a house which they were occupying on 34 North Frederick Street, Dublin city…

The activist group Take Back The City have released a statement, saying:

Yesterday, September 11, 2018, 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.

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.”

Immediately after the arrival of these private security workers, 3 members of An Garda Siochana attended at the scene.

As community response to the eviction attempt began to build, they were joined by 1 Garda Riot Squad, 1 Public Order Unit, 1 Garda Transit Connect van an 1 Garda Jeep with dogs.

As peaceful opposition to the eviction continued, physical force was used against a number of attendees, while 5 activists were arrested and brought to various Garda stations throughout the North Inner City of Dublin.

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.

A large mobilisation of activists and members of the community gathered outside Store Street Garda Station in the aftermath of the arrests, demanding their release.

Several of those arrested subsequently presented to hospital for treatment on injuries sustained before and during their arrests.

The extent of injuries sustained at the hands of both the private security firm and the Guards includes: assault leading to severe wounds, shoulder injury and concussion as a result of being kicked in the head. The injuries sustained were so serious in nature they necessitated hospital care.

Take Back the City condemns the actions of the security firm who illegally carried out forceful evictions on occupants at 34 North Frederick Street, a building which had been left idle for more than 3 years by its owners, the McGreal family.

Moreso, we utterly condemn the actions of An Garda Siochana, who facilitated these illegal activities, arrested activists fighting against the ongoing and unprecedented homelessness crisis in Ireland, and used physical force in the process.

We ask An Garda Siochana, and the State at large, how they can justify these actions? We ask them where this scale of physical support is implemented when ordinary tenants are being illegally and unjustly evicted from their homes?

A solidarity rally will take place later today – further details to follow. The ‘Take Back the City – Dublin’ Facebook page will have more information on same during the day.

Last night: What’s Going On Here?

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Jaysus.

Nat writes:

That’s one angle RTE can take…



Tonight.

Store Street, Dublin

Take Back the City activists, who occupied a house at 34 North Frederick Street and were late this afternoon evicted (top) by a private security company with a large force of gardai in support, protest outside Store Street Garda Station, where six people were being detained after arrests for public order offences.

Take Back The City

Six arrested during protest in Dublin city centre (RTÉ)

Sam Boal/RollingNews

Meanwhile…

The house at 34 North Frederick Street tonight.

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

In Waterford city.

A building has been occupied by a group of housing activists on O’Connell Street.

Take Back The City – Waterford writes:

Following another increase in the number of homeless people, activists in Waterford have said enough is enough and initiated a 24-hour occupation of a vacant building on O’Connell St. The building is the former Presbytery now owned by Waterford City and County Council. This follows a summer of occupations in Dublin.

Local People Before Profit rep Una Dunphy said: ‘Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy issued targets last year, he said Waterford would build 687 new social houses between now and 2021. This is a ridiculously low number but, even so, only 11 social houses were built last year. There are over 3,000 on the housing list in Waterford and it’s growing with many eviction orders before the courts. There is over 110 people homeless in Waterford at present.’

Meanwhile, a public meeting will take place on Thursday, September 13, at 7pm, in the Unite Union Hall, Keyzer Street in Waterford.

Speakers on the night include PBP Rep Una Dunphy, Michelle Byrne, USI Vice-President for Campaigns and an activist from the Dublin Summerhill Occupation and United Against Racism.

Via Take Back The City – Waterford (Facebook)

Previously: Taking More Back

 

On Frederick Lane, Dublin 1

Take Back The City tweetz:

Shoutout to Subset Dublin for this amazing piece. Their Grey Area Project is a response to prohibitory planning laws which hinder artists’ self expression. This latest piece is an expression of solidarity with our direct actions & we absolutely love it…

Meanwhile…

As the occupation of 34, Frederick Street North, Dublin 1 by housing activists continues…

They’re expanding.

Take Back The City writes:

Picking out a lovely new little gaff for us to occupy is like eating pick ‘n mix – there’s just so much to choose from! As supporting numbers have been increasing steadily since the North Fredrick Street take over we have decided to double the fun with sweet, sweet occupation number three.

Ye heard us right, double – we aren’t moving, but expanding. Occupation three will be held in conjunction with North Fredrick Street, building an occupation community so to speak.

While all occupations hold a special place in our hearts this one is set to be a show-stopper. To keep you all guessing, we will be adding letters to the wheel of fortune board [above] each day in lead up to the grand reveal.

We are calling on people to gather at the GPO at 5.30pm [on Saturday] where we will take to the roads together and walk to our next addition.

Occupation Expansion: Where to Next? (Facebook)

This afternoon.

At 34, Frederick Street North, Dublin 1, which has been occupied by housing activists for 11 days.

Crowds gather in support of the activists after the High Court yesterday ordered those in the house to leave it by 2pm today.

Group occupying Dublin property ordered to leave by judge (The Irish Times)

Yesterday: ‘Hitting 10,000 Doesn’t Tell Us Anything That Hitting 9,000 Didn’t Tell Us’

Previously: A Modest Vacant Housing Proposal

Pics: Ronan Lowther and Dublin Central Housing Action and Timbo and Rollingnews