Connolly Barracks is the name we have given to the building which members of the Cork branch of the Connolly Youth Movement liberated, cleaned and transformed into a home. Members scouted Cork City for a number of buildings that looked idle, abandoned or derelict and selected this one after further investigation. It was in an abysmal state. Mould, dead woodlice and other things were everywhere. It had no electricity, no heaters and it was empty for over 8 years. We consider it horrendous and appalling that in the midst of one of the worst crises with regard to housing, thousands of homes stand idle. Why is that?
The housing crisis benefits the banker-developer-landlord caste in Irish society. A low supply means that demand is high which increases the cost of housing. The way to maintain a low supply is for the State, which traditionally provided housing, to refuse to build, and that’s exactly what they are doing. Instead private developers are given the tender at a cost that guarantees huge profits for all parties except of course those renting or looking to buy. The Connolly Youth Movement does not recognise the right to private property over the right to housing.
In liberating this building we have made a political statement to our peers: the time to act on housing is now. Liberating buildings in this manner is merely one aspect to fighting for better housing conditions, joining the campaign for public housing is another way of presenting tangible solutions to the housing crisis.
What’s life like?
We’ve been here since August and life for the most part has been fine. We’ve put a significant amount of work into the building because we live and operate here. We have made a point: young people can be responsible residents if they have a feeling of ownership, even if temporary, over their own building. Life without electricity has been interesting, we’ve used a gas camping stove and a community funded superser heater. It isn’t easy and we were always open to the idea of making a deal with ESB, squat or no squat – why should that matter with regards to us paying for and using the electricity?
Owner or landlord?
The alleged owner showed up in October and called two Garda detectives. We informed ourselves of the Public Order Act and our rights and were able to deal with the situation in a calm and controlled manner. To this day, we are still here and you can learn more about our interaction here:
This section is standing by for further updates, we will outline details in relation to the public order act, squatting, what sort of buildings are suitable and more importantly, if you’re looking for help in Cork or elsewhere, get in touch with us!