High Court orders Belvedere Place occupiers to vacate

The occupation began on 8 September

Trinity students are among housing activists who have been ordered by High Court injunction to vacate an occupied Dublin property and to deliver up “vacant possession” to the property’s owner. The 41 Belvedere Place property has been occupied since 8 September following a march from O’Connell Street.

The application for the injunction was made by MJH Property Management Limited, who are based in Middlesex, England. The sole director of the company is Michael Joseph Horgan. According to the filed accounts of the firm, it reported assets of £3.1m in 2017.

Counsel for the property owner argued today that the group had forcibly entered the Georgian building, and remained on the property as trespassers. He also pointed out that the injunction application was similar to that of the previous Summerhill and North Frederick Street occupations.

The court also accepted that the building was made dangerous by developments on upper floors, and as a result may not have been a stable property. The property had been vacant for a number of years prior to this development. The letter ordering the vacation of the property also pointed out that the property was not compliant with fire safety regulations.

It was also acknowledged that it was unclear whether the group occupying the property were the same individuals, or were connected with those who were removed from a North Frederick Street property this week.

Earlier this week, occupiers of the property, speaking to the Irish Times, said that they would not fulfill a legal warning to vacate the building taken over in the capital. The occupiers were ordered by solicitors for the property owners, Lanigan and Curran, to vacate the premises before 6pm on Thursday.

They also noted that they would “defy any injunction” from the courts and “would encourage groups across the country to take similar action to ours”. According to the activists there was a “ moral responsibility to take direct action”.

This comes less than a week after housing activists were forcibly removed from a North Frederick Street property. The group were removed by a private security company, alongside the Gardaí. Several activists were arrested, including a Trinity student who was hospitalised for injuries sustained during the arrest.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister Law student, and a former Deputy News Editor.