VACANT HOUSE TAKEOVER
A group who took over a vacant house in the centre of Sligo last week say they intend to occupy other properties in the coming weeks to highlight homelessness.
The protest at the house at Old Market Street was organised by People Before Profit and lasted for around six hours last Tuesday.
PBP councillor Gino O’Boyle who was one of the organisers said there were many other such properties around the city.
“It was a short occupation to highlight the fact that there is a housing crisis outside of Dublin as well.
“The housing shelters are full and there are hundreds on the housing list and many more people are staying with friends, couch surfing,” said Cllr O’Boyle.
He claimed that the house at Old Market Street has been vacant for the past eight years and was privately owned.
Cllr O’Boyle said the house was in “a decent, liveable condition.”
He would like to see it done up and given to someone on the Sligo’s housing list.
He said he would be seeking for the council to proceed with compulsory purchase orders with regard to vacant houses.
He said he didn’t see anything wrong with entering the house and that occupation was a form of peaceful protest.
Asked how the group had gained entry, Cllr O’Boyle said the “house was already open.”
He said there were dozens of such vacant properties not only in the city but in outlying areas such as Carney and Ballisodare and “we need to find out who owns them.”
Cllr O’Boyle said he wasn’t aware if the owner of the Old Market Street house knew of the occupation.
The house which was occupied at Old Market Street.
Cllr Gino O’Boyle (second from left) with Nigel Gallagher of People Before Profit and others outside the house at Old Market Street which was occupied for some six hours last Wednesday. Pic: Donal Hackett