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New anti-eviction group in Cork ask why thousands of homes lie vacant amidst crisis

A new group, formed in recent days and describing itself as the Cork Anti Eviction Network, have asked why thousands of properties within the city bounds lie vacant in the midst of a housing crisis.

Ed Fitzgerald, a People Before Profit candidate for Cork South East, who founded the group pointed to CSO statistics which show over 4,500 dwellings were vacant in 2016 and said he believed people should be asking how such a surplus in housing can exist amidst the oft quoted market shortage.

An eviction protest in Cork

"There are multi-faceted answers to this question but the answer often points to Vulture Funds, who have a strategy of taking advantage of impoverished markets," he said.

"Vulture Funds are predatory financial interests who buy up property from distressed markets. This route was paved by the Government over a number of years resulting in Vulture Fund evictions and balaclava wearing mercenaries accompanied by Gardaí to empty houses."

Mr Fitzgerald said that with this in mind a group of activists known as the Cork Anti Eviction Network had come together to lobby on the issue.

"They aim to support people using their diverse backgrounds in activism in Cork and aid people in setting up anti-eviction groups in their communities.

"They are of the belief that a progressive group of activists can make a difference locally and in time nationally through organisation, education and mobilisation."

Mr Fitzgerald said the aims of the Cork Anti Eviction Network were as follows:

- Protest against Vulture Fund interference in the housing market.

- Educating people on housing rights and issues.

- Mobilise on evictions and highlight cases of dodgy evictions.

- Provide assistance, writing legal letters and rights based information.

- Campaign for the building of public housing on public lands.

- Campaign for fair rent controls tethered to the cost of living.

- Take direct action in the form of peaceful protest and resistance to Vulture Fund evictions.

He said that further aims will be added as they are encountered.

The group can be contacted via their Facebook page