A Workers’ Party Dublin City Councillor has accused An Garda Síochána of blatant bias in using its resources to police private evictions by private security firms, in the wake of the arrest of several housing activists in Dublin 1 last night (Tuesday).
Cllr. Éilis Ryan, who is an activist with the ‘Take Back the City’ occupation movement, said:
“I have been present at multiple evictions, and there is an extraordinary contrast between the scale of Garda protection of private security agents carrying out an eviction last night, and the total failure of An Garda Síochána to protect the rights of tenants who are being illegally evicted by force by their landlords.
“A few weeks back, a young woman was made homeless despite having a case pending with the Residential Tenancies Board, disputing her landlords’ eviction notice, because she was forcibly evicted. The Gardaí did nothing to guarantee her right to peaceful occupation of her home.”
Cllr. Ryan continued:
“By contrast, last night, when private security agents wearing balaclavas were using force and violence to remove people from an unoccupied building, vans full of Gardaí arrived within minutes to guarantee the security agents’ safety.
“This is a total double standard. In a context where we are being told there aren’t enough gardaí to provide community policing in the inner city, how did an Garda Síochána come to decide that it was its role to provide protection for armed heavies? Were they called there by this company? Why did they not instruct them to wear their identification numbers? Why were they allowed to cover their faces?”
The city councillor concluded:
“Next Monday I will be bringing a motion before Dublin’s Central Area Joint Policing Committee, which calls for a report on last night’s events, and a protocol on how An Garda Síochána police evictions.
“This must include transparency on the relationship between An Garda Síochána and private security operators.”
The following motion will be tabled at next Monday (17th September)’s meeting of the Central Area Joint Policing Committee of Dublin City Council, by Workers’ Party Cllr. Éilis Ryan
“The Joint Policing Committee condemns the use of excessive violence against peaceful housing protestors last Monday at 34, North Frederick Street. It furthermore condemns the use of masks by Gardaí present at the demonstration, and their refusal to prevent violent behaviour by armed, unidentified private, hired security at the building.
“The JPC calls for a full report by An Garda Síochána back to this committee, accounting for the numbers of arrests made, the use of masks to conceal the identity of the Gardaí present, and the rationale for the Gardaí using valuable resources to police a private eviction.
“The JPC furthermore calls on An Garda Síochána to bring back to the Dublin City JPC a protocol on how it handles evictions and attempted evictions, and its role in protecting tenants from security firms hired by private landlords during illegal eviction attempts, a practice which is concerningly common in the Central Area at this time.”