Planned Shelter for Ukrainian Refugees Taken Over by ‘Revolutionary Workers Union’, Court Hears

Work has stopped on the conversion of a former homeless shelter into accommodation for Ukrainian refugees because the building was taken over by a group calling itself the Revolutionary Union of Workers, the High Court has heard.

Lefroy House on Eden Quay in Dublin city center operated as emergency accommodation for children in crisis for many years until its closure in early 2021.

The property, in which the Salvation Army has a long-term leasing interest, was being renovated to accommodate refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

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

However, those plans are now on hold after the building was allegedly raided and occupied on May 1 by a group calling itself the Revolutionary Workers Union, whose members reportedly refuse to vacate the property.

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

On Friday afternoon, lawyers from The Salvation Army Company (Republic of Ireland) commenced legal proceedings in the High Court against unknown persons who are alleged to be illegally occupying and trespassing on the premises.

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

The attorney said his clients were given an email address to communicate with the occupants, but no substantive meetings or conversations have taken place.

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

The lawyer said that one of the people believed to be in the occupation, while wearing a black balaclava, had given an interview to an online media channel.

The person said in the interview that the building was seized after being the subject of a “Town Acquisition Order” and that it was taken “in the spirit of the 1916 Rising.”

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

The lawyer said the occupants say they have renamed the building “James Connolly House” in honor of the trade unionist and socialist republican executed by the British after the 1916 uprising.

They have also waved flags, including the Starry Plow, and banners from the building that say “Housing for the People.”

The lawyer said the Salvation Army, which is a registered charity, is concerned about the building and needs to do work on the roof and steps to prevent water from leaking out, and that its fire detection system needs to be checked regularly.

As a result of the alleged illegal occupation of the property, The Salvation Army is seeking a court order requiring persons on the premises and all others with knowledge of the order to stop trespassing, vacate the building and do not interfere with the landlord’s agents from taking possession of the property. the old hostel.

On Friday afternoon, the matter came before Judge Emily Egan, who ex parte granted the Salvation Army permission to give short notice of the injunction proceedings to those in the building.

The judge said that at this stage of the proceedings it was accepted that the plaintiff had presented a strong case that was likely to succeed at trial.

However, the court was not prepared at this stage of the proceedings to grant an injunction against persons whose identities are currently unknown.

The judge said that it was better for the people in occupation to know about the proceedings first.

The judge also added that it is unlikely that anything will be done about the facilities when the matter comes up again in court.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

Leave a Comment