Brutal eviction of vacant space in Stoneybatter

Reporter Jane Byrne went out on site to document the aftermath of the Stoneybatter eviction. 

On Wednesday the 23rd of October, a private security firm, attempted to evict housing activists at 23 Prussia Street, Stonebatter. 

The site has been occupied by housing activists since early September and is known amongst the community as Sunnyvale.

The activist group known as ‘ThatSocialCentre’ on Instagram, announced on 10 September that they had “occupied an empty corner of Stoneybatter.” 

They outlined the plans for the space by saying, “we hope to clean up, build infrastructure, host events and workshops, and resist any further eviction attempts.” 

Since then, the group has hosted environmental workshops, bike fixing days and food drives. 

On 23 October, the group called out for support at the site on social media. Footage of the private security firm violently evicting activists was quickly shared around and soon, the story had dominated Twitter and Instagram newsfeeds. 

The McGrath Group, who owns the site, are ‘a privately owned investment and development company operating in Ireland, the U.K. and Germany’ according to their website. Randelswood Construction LTD which is an extension of the McGrath group wishes to demolish the infrastructure currently at 23 Prussia Street and replace it with 166 build-to-rent apartments. This is in accordance with a planning submission considered by An Bord Pleanána, Ireland’s national independent planning body that decides appeals on planning decisions. 

In a statement given to The Irish Times, The McGrath Group was issued with a High Court order by Dublin City Council, instructing it to remove squatters from the site on Prussia Street. The group was legally required to keep the site vacant because of the council’s concerns about “serious fire and safety risks and the overall poor condition of the existing buildings,” it said. 

The Guards were present at the eviction. A Garda spokesman told Dublin Live no injuries had been reported during the altercations but they will be carrying out further investigations into the incident. He continued, “Gardaí from the Bridewell attended at a property on Prussia Street Dublin this morning, 27 October 2021, where a property owner, in compliance with a court order, was securing a premises and facilitating access to persons to remove personal items.” 

Although the group managed to resist the eviction, the area was destroyed. Currently, they are working on rebuilding the space and are calling out for help across their social media platforms. Supplies needed include food, kettles, boilers, and gardening gloves among other things.

In the video attached, you can see the aftermath to the site. We spoke to Em, one of the activists who wishes to conceal her identity. 

As this is an ongoing story updates can be found at thatsocialcentre on instagram

**The McGrath group refused to comment on this matter. 

The Guards could not be reached for comment.

All comments in the video are those of activist Em.

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