Take Back the City occupy Airbnb head office at Hanover Quay

The activist group called for a total ban on Airbnb in Dublin

The housing activist group, Take Back the City, held a protest this morning at Airbnb headquarters in response to the company’s role in the current housing crisis. Over 15 activists disrupted an Open House event at the Airbnb offices at the Hanover Quay. The protestors unfurled a banner declaring “Take Back the City” and chanted “homes for communities, not for tourists”. Protestors then circulated leaflets around the event claiming that Airbnb are “driving the housing crisis!” and calling for a total ban of Airbnb letting in Dublin.

The protest continued for 20 minutes before Airbnb staff cancelled the Open House event. The protestors continued to give a number of speeches criticising the practise of landlords “evicting tenants in preference for more profitable, short-term Airbnb stays” and chanting “ban Airbnb housing for the bourgeoisie”. Activists are now occupying the Airbnb offices at Hanover Quay.

The demonstrators assembled at Samuel Beckett Bridge before entering the offices in three different groups after signing into the Open House event. They then made their way down to an auditorium and assembled across the front of the auditorium before unfurling their banner. Activists began to livestream the demonstration before Airbnb turned off the office monitor.

The Airbnb office had been open as part of an Open House event, Ireland’s largest architecture festival.

In a statement released after the demonstration, Take Back the City said: “Airbnb have exacerbated the housing crisis in Dublin and Ireland as a whole. A platform that markets convenience by ‘disruption’ has delivered nothing but chaos to the people of our city.” Take Back the City declared that the tech company had “no place in our city” and that the “the city should serve the needs of all its people, not the needs of tech, finance and the tourism industry.”

Airbnb did not respond to request for comment. 

The grassroots activist group, Take Back the City, includes members of Take Back Trinity, Dublin Renters’ Union, and Dublin Central Housing Action. They recently came to prominence over the summer after a number of occupations of vacant properties including 34 North Frederick Street and 34 Summerhill Parade. During the eviction of protestors at 34 North Frederick Street, a number of activists were injured and two students were arrested. 

Ciaran Sunderland

Ciaran Sunderland is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Senior Sophister History student, and former Investigations Editor.