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Despite being deep in the austerity shitpit, a job deadzone and with the IMF/ECB prescribing round after round of cuts, Ireland as a whole has been pretty quiet on the protest front – although 2012 may see that changing... The small-scale Occupy camps of Dublin, Cork and Galway appear to have spawned a radical offshoot in the form of protest squats set up in government-owned empty buildings.
The Irish government was forced to takeover property-related loans from collapsing banks in 2009 when the property bubble burst and thousands of newly built homes were left unsold. It created the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) to take debt worth 72.3billion euros from financial institutions. With it, the Agency became the owner of vast amounts of property, including around 600 'ghost estates'. Originally owned by individuals and companies that went bankrupt, they now stand as a stark symbol of 'bust' Ireland.
So-called Occupy NAMA protesters are taking up residence in such spaces, which have been left disused and abandoned despite a rising homelessness count and long social housing waiting lists. On January 2nd in Cork, a group entered a seven-storey city centre office building and set to work creating a Community Resource Centre. This Youtube vid shows the entrance (which may be the smoothest squat crack ever recorded, thanks to the key distribution Christmas elf). Elsewhere, Occupy activists in Dublin have taken residential properties, and promise to expand their activities to house the homeless.
A father of seven who squatted in a NAMA ghost estate after being on the housing list for five years was granted leave to remain last October. The judge threw out the case of 'trespass' after hearing that he had improved the property. Whether the authorities are as sympathetic to the recent, overtly political, repossessions remains to be seen - but with 400,000 empties, the possibilities could be endless.
See http://corkcitycentre.wordpress.com/ for more on the Community Resource Centre.
Squatted community social centre and veg shop opens in Lewes.
UPDATE: They finally coughed up. After two days of consistent hassling by activists at the Department for Transport earlier last month, during which one person got nicked, the DfT sheepishly released the previously top secret (read: problematic and embarrassing) documents about the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
Anti-cuts protesters block Lord Freud's Highgate London home and stage "evict a millionaire" demo.
New Squat Law Fails In Court
'Non-citizens' take to the streets of Berlin in the latest instalment of the Refugee Strike shaking things up in Germany.
Anti-cull travellers and squatters plot land seizures.
New squatting law forces homeless to sleep in the cold with lethal consequences.
Civil liberties activists in Germany and elsewhere are taking a novel, and militant, approach to CCTV culture.