Judge gives group until Thursday to leave building earmarked for Ukrainian refugees

Ms Justice Emily Egan made the order to attach and commit to prison the occupants of the building on Dublin’s Eden Quay
Judge gives group until Thursday to leave building earmarked for Ukrainian refugees

High court reporters

A High Court judge has given a group of people allegedly trespassing at a Dublin city property earmarked for Ukrainian refugees until Thursday morning to leave or face arrest.

Ms Justice Emily Egan made the order to attach and commit to prison the occupants of the building on Dublin’s Eden Quay after hearing that they were going to continue despite being told they were in breach of a High Court order and being asked by the judge to reflect on their position.

The Salvation Army, which is preparing the building for Ukrainian refugees, had sought to attach and commit people allegedly trespassing claiming they were in contempt of a High Court order requiring them to vacate and cease trespassing at Lefroy House on Eden Quay.

Refused to leave

The court granted an injunction last week after being informed members of a group calling itself the Revolutionary Workers Union entered the building in early May and have since refused to leave.

Ms Justice Emily Egan at the High Court on Wednesday said she was satisfied there were continued acts of trespass at the premises and that some of the people on the property were aware of the court order.

The court’s position she said has to be that a High Court order must be obeyed. Ms Justice Egan said it was most unfortunate she had to make the attachment and committal order, which she said was a “last resort” and she said it will be very difficult for the gardaí to execute it.

Own accord

The judge put a stay on the order until 10am on Thursday morning to give an opportunity to people on the premises  “to leave of their own accord”  before the attachment and committal order takes effect.

After that the judge said those on the premises will be brought before the court and asked to give undertakings to the court on the matter.

Rental sector

Earlier Seán Doyle, who stood in the 2014 local elections in Wicklow for the socialist republican Éirígí party told the court the rental sector was being pushed to the limits and people were going hungry to pay rent. He said the group were going to continue.

The Salvation Army holds a long lease over the Dublin city premises, which had been operating as emergency accommodation for minors in crisis for many years until its closure in early 2021 when funding ceased.

The charity was renovating the property to accommodate refugees fleeing war-torn Ukraine from June.

The High Court had previously granted permission for the Salvation Army (Republic of Ireland) Company to serve short notice on the occupants of its intention to bring a motion this week for attachment  and committal against those it claimed were in contempt of the court’s injunctive order.

Previously the court heard that despite the charity’s efforts to contact those in occupation, it cannot access the premises or continue to repair the building to house the refugees.

Posts on social media stated that the building was seized after being made the subject of a 'People's Acquisition Order' and that it was taken over 'in the spirit of the 1916 Rising’, the court was told. The occupants have also flown various signs from the building.

The case will return before the court on Friday.

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