Saturday 28 March 2015

Grangegorman

I passed by the squatters/protestors at Grangegorman earlier today. I’ve been intrigued about the Grangegorman site for quite a while. It’s always struck me as off that that there is an enormous section of land right beside Smithfield, within 10 minutes walk of the city centre, that has now been empty for over a decade. I always thought it was owned by the state, but it seems that I was wrong as earlier this week NAMA (who are apparently the owners) decided that they needed to start off clearing the place using force to remove some squatters. Now I know we technically kind of own NAMA but I didn’t think the Grangegorman properties were actually owned by failed developers at all. I thought those were properties formerly used by various national institutions ( like the old Richmond Hospital). Probably should investigate and find out who the “owners” really are.

It’s very interesting to see the force and willingness to use violence that is evident in the approach taken against these particular squatters, who owe the rest of us nothing by the way, while the squatters on Vico Road, who are collectively responsible for millions in bad debts we all have to pay for, get handled with kid gloves and are allowed to take the piss out of the legal system at every opportunity.

Anyway the squatters I saw seemed like a quiet enough bunch, and like I said this place has been empty for years. So it seems very strange that someone decided to opt for eviction by force without a court order as the first move unless someone, somewhere was trying to make a political statement.
The area covers two large sections, split down the middle by Grangegorman Upper and Grangegorman Lower roads. The area to the west has started to be developed. This is one of the entrances to that development on the west side of Grangegorman. I wasn’t quite sure what it was as I wandered around, it’s not doing a good job selling itself to pedestrians, but I think it’s a new campus for DIT. All very shiny.

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This is also probably one of the highest points in the city, and it’s a nice scenic spot to go along with
the anti-fascist stickering on the street furniture. It really has a lot going for it, even without the laudable political stickers. Makes for a nice picture too. The dead zone that hasn’t been developed is to the east, behind this building, and to the south along Grangegorman lower as it joins up with Brunswick Street North is the area that the squatters are occupying.

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Walking along to the south down the hill you notice that a lot of the houses on the eastern side of the road are boarded up. There’s some recent graffiti with a nod to King Crept and some humour but this all quickly takes on a single theme of support for the squatters. It’s not all derelict, and there are some pretty nice looking houses here that are clearly still in use. It’s odd, as I said I’ve never quite figured out what’s up with this area.

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The Transformeresque robot thing is a bit mad and is a very recent addition, it wasn't here last week when I walked past.

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I don’t think the “Squat and Fight” sticker helps set the tone for peaceful resistance but then again who am I to tell people how they should protest when those planning the first move against them certainly felt that pre-emptive violence was justified.

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I’m not at all sure what this is about, looks like a prop for a video game advertising display or something. Pretty mad, possibly related to the robot.

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