Judge orders arrest of housing activists occupying derelict Dublin building

A group calling itself the Revolutionary Housing League are allegedly illegally occupying Parkgate House in Dublin 8
Judge orders arrest of housing activists occupying derelict Dublin building

High Court reporter

A judge has directed that all persons in breach of an injunction requiring them to vacate a Dublin building being used to house the homeless be arrested and brought before the High Court by gardaí to answer their failure to comply with that order.

The order was made in respect of persons linked to a group calling itself the Revolutionary Housing League which has allegedly illegally occupied Parkgate House in Dublin 8.

At Thursday's vacation sitting of the High Court, Mr Justice Mark Heslin said he was satisfied that there has been a flagrant breach of the injunction granted by the court last week requiring all those in occupation to immediately vacate the premises.

The injunction was secured by the building's owner, financial fund Davy Platform ICAV, acting on behalf of its sub-fund, the Phoenix Sub-fund, and Ruirside Developments, plans to develop the now disused site into 519 rental units and other amenities.

The judge said he was satisfied from the evidence put before the court that there was an ongoing and deliberate breach of the "clear terms" of the High Court order which they were made aware.

As a result, the judge said that Sean Doyle, who he said appeared to be the leader of the RHL, and all other persons found on the premises should be brought before the High Court by gardaí to answer claims that they are in contempt of court.

Should Mr Doyle, or anyone else brought before the court in respect of the matter by gardaí, continue to refuse to comply with the order, they face the possibility to being committed to Mountjoy Prison.

The judge made the orders returnable to next Monday's vacation sitting of the court.

'No intention' of leaving

Seeking the orders, Stephen Byrne BL, for the plaintiffs, said based on observations by agents acting for his clients, and from social media posts, it appeared that the RHL have "no intention" of complying with the High Court order.

Mr Byrne said the terms of the injunction granted were clear, and that all the relevant persons are aware of the "clear terms" of the injunction.

It appeared that some people were in the process of leaving the building and some personal belongings have been removed, counsel said, however "a significant number of persons remain on the premises in breach of the court's order."

Mr Byrne said the attachment and committal order was being sought because after the injunction was granted the RHL organised a concert, with live music, that was attended by approximately 200 people at the venue last weekend.

Counsel said another event may be held at the property and his clients have serious health and safety concerns about the building and say that it is unsuitable for accommodating persons.

Mr Byrne said that arising out the fact that his client are unable to secure the building insurance cover for the building has been withdrawn by the insurer.

Counsel said that social media posts from persons alleged to be in breach of the order suggested that the RHL believed that orders for their attachment and committal had already been made and that their arrest was imminent, and a protest had been organised outside the building for Thursday morning.

The application for the attachment and committal order was not opposed, and there were no appearances nor representations made on behalf of those alleged to be in breach of the orders.

The plaintiffs claim that the RHL have barricaded themselves into the building and have refused to leave.

Arising out of their failure to vacate the premises the plaintiffs' brought High Court proceedings against all persons in occupation of the building and a number of named individuals including Mr Doyle.

The property was formerly operated by a fabric wholesalers Hickey and Company Ltd, which vacated the site two years ago.

It was claimed illegally occupied since late August when banners were seen hanging over the side of the property that adjoins the River Liffey and that the defendants had "barricaded themselves into the property".

Representing himself in court last week Mr Doyle opposed the application for the injunction.

He said the building had been acquired, was renamed Ionad Sean Heuston, and was being used to help homeless persons of all nationalities during a housing crisis.

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