Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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Activists stage 24 hour protest in empty house

A number of housing protesters occupied a vacant property in Waterford City for 24 hours last weekend following a similar event in Dublin recently.

They took over the four storey former presbytery, on O’Connell Street, on Friday activists in Dublin occupied buildings on Summerhill Parade and North Frederick Street to protest against the housing crisis in August. The Waterford protesters, who are local supporters of the Take Back the City movement, said they want the council to build social housing on the land banks at Carrickperish and Kilbarry and to compulsorily purchase what they say are thousands of vacant properties in the area. They are also calling for rent caps to be linked to inflation.

Local People Before Profit representative, Una Dunphy, said she supported the protest. "Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy - said Waterford would build 687 new social houses between now and 2021," local People Before Profit representative, Una Dunphy, said in support of the protest.

"This is a ridiculously low number, but even so only 11 social houses were built last year. "There are over 3,000 on the housing list in Waterford, and there are over 110 people homeless in Waterford at present." Ms Dunphy told reporters the activists had chosen the former presbytery, which the council leases from the diocese of Waterford and Lismore, because "it’s city centre, it’s huge, it’s an old building with a preservation order on it, and it’s owned by the council. "For that reason we feel it’s something they could act on immediately. It’s nobody’s private property. "It’s owned by us."

After meeting the Waterford protesters, Gardai and the council told them they could stay in the building until 11.30am on Saturday. A decision on the building’s long term use is pending.


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