Sallynoggin concerned community protesting outside 10a Church Place
Sallynoggin concerned community protesting outside 10a Church Place

Sallynoggin residents are celebrating after reports that a building in the area used to allegedly treat sex offenders is now empty.

Last July, a local posted on Facebook, raising concerns that 10a Church Place in Sallynoggin might be used as a clinic to treat sex offenders.

Local group Sallynoggin Concerned Community (SCC) said they started to look into it and decided to protest outside the building.

Two local councillors then invited the director of the clinic to a meeting in a local pub to discuss locals’ concerns. The director said at the meeting he “was not treating sex offenders in 10a.”

The Sallynoggin Concerned Community said they were not happy with the outcome of the meeting and decided to protest further. They shut the clinic’s entrance off by putting locks on the gates.

Steven Bennett from the SCC told Dublin Gazette that “30 Gardai came down and cut the locks” and at the end of the day the director of the clinic said, “he was moving out.”

Mr Bennett said the clinic did not move out and a few concerned women in the area went to the premises and recorded a video of the director saying, “he couldn’t get out of his ten year lease.”

In mid-August, SCC occupied the three-storey building at 10A Church Place. “With the schools opening back in September, parents were saying they wouldn’t let their kids go to school. We wanted a peaceful protest. We wanted to find a solution to this.

“Eventually we got to the point where we realised that by occupying the building we would solve all the problems. Any parents who had kids that were due to go back to school would be alleviated of any concern once we were in there. That’s when we occupied the building.

“We were in there for 2 weeks and 2 days when the police came in and shut the occupation down,” said Mr Bennett.

Mr Bennet said that the landlord recently allowed one or two people in the community to come into the building and look, and “the building is now empty.”

He said it is a “positive story” of community action. “It’s all pretty surreal. At the start we were powerless but, in the process, we’ve built friendships in the community. That for us is the greatest part of the story. We’ve got so many messages from parents and grandparents thanking us.”

Sallynoggin resident Sophie Tallant said the community are rejoicing and held a street part on Sunday to celebrate the outcome. She told Dublin Gazette: “It’s a huge victory. I think it’s a relief as well. The atmosphere in the community at the moment is ecstatic.”

Sophie, who works in childcare and has a lot of friends of family in the area with children said, “it wasn’t an ideal place for a service like that.”