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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.

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Protesters hold an anti-austerity Plebs and PIIGS Banquet outside Lord Mayor's Banquet as a precursor to day of action and strikes across Europe.

Mike Weatherley, the M.P behind the squatting ban, due to deliver a talk on the new squatting legislation, at the University of Sussex today, was instead chased off campus by students and protesters.

Land occupiers fight back as cops try to evict for airport development in France

Anti-fascist vigilantes take to the roads on motorbikes around Athens as racist attacks increase.

Out of the squats and into the er... prisons. As, Alex Haigh, the first squatter to be sent down under S.144 recieves three months.

Twitter: @SchNEWS