Salvation Army says revolutionary group has taken over former hostel it is trying to renovate for Ukrainian refugees

Work to convert a former homeless shelter into accommodation for Ukrainian refugees has been halted because it was taken over by a group calling itself the Revolutionary Workers Union, the High Court has heard.

efroy House on Eden Quay in Dublin city center operated as emergency accommodation for minors in crisis for many years until it closed in early 2021.

The property, in which the Salvation Army has a long-term interest, had been undergoing renovations to house refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

The Salvation Army had hoped to open its doors to the first group of refugees from June.

However, those plans are now on hold after the building was reportedly broken into and occupied on May Day by a group calling itself the Revolutionary Workers Union, whose members reportedly refused to leave the property.

It is claimed that the group intends to use the building to house homeless people.

Solicitors for the Salvation Army (Republic of Ireland) company on Friday brought proceedings in the High Court against unidentified persons who they claim are unlawfully occupying and unlawfully entering the premises.

Niall Buckley BL for the Salvation Army (SA) told the court that despite his client’s efforts to communicate with the occupants, the SA cannot access the premises and cannot continue to repair the building so that it can be used to house refugees.

The attorney said his clients were given an email address to communicate with the occupiers, but no meetings or substantive discussions took place.

The lawyer added that there have been several posts about the occupation on social media.

The lawyer said that one of the people suspected of being in the occupation had, while wearing a black balaclava, granted an interview to an online media.

The person said in the interview that the building was seized after being the subject of a “popular acquisition order” and was taken over “in the spirit of the 1916 uprising”.

The person also made statements about the condition of the building and an alleged attempt by Gardai and security personnel to enter the building, which the lawyer said his client did not accept .

The interviewee also made a statement intended to prevent anyone from taking over the building saying that there are Republicans occupying it and don’t push the bear and challenge anyone here.

The lawyer said the occupants had also renamed the building ‘James Connolly House’ after the trade unionist and socialist republican who was executed by the British following the 1916 uprising.

They also flew flags, including the Star Plow and building banners with the words “Housing for the People”.

The lawyer said the SA, which is a registered charity, is concerned about the building and needs to carry out work on the roof, measures to prevent water drainage and that its detection system fire should be checked regularly.

Following the alleged illegal occupation of the property, The Salvation Army is seeking an injunction requiring those on the premises and all others who have knowledge of the order to cease breaking and entering, vacate the building and do not prevent the owner’s agents from taking possession of it. of the old inn.

The case came before Mrs. Justice Emily Egan who, on an ex parte basis (only one party represented), granted the Salvation Army permission to serve brief notice of the injunction proceedings on those who were in the building.

The judge said that at this stage of the proceedings it was accepted that the plaintiff had made strong arguments that could succeed at trial.

However, the court was not ready at this stage of the proceedings to grant an interim injunction against persons whose identity is currently unknown.

The judge said that it was better that the people in occupation are informed first of the procedure.

The judge also added that it was unlikely anything would be done about the premises when the case returns to court next Wednesday.

Linda G. Ibarra