A group of local representatives staged a protest at the Tallaght office of Ireland’s biggest landlord.

TD Paul Murphy and three councillors from Solidarity and People Before Profit occupied the Ires Reit (Irish Residential Properties Real Estate Investment Trust) office in Tallaght Cross West last Friday morning.

Deputy Murphy told Dublin Gazette why they took the action.

“We occupied Ires Reit because they are the country’s biggest landlord,” he said.

“They have got over half of their properties from NAMA, mostly at knockdown prices.

“Now they are hiking up rents massively, while being exempt from corporation tax on rental income and capital gains tax.This is the government’s model of housing – incentivising profiteers.

“Instead we need public housing built on public land.

“We need a massive turnout for the National Housing & Homeless Coalition protest on Saturday 1 December.”

People Before Profit Councillor for Clondalkin Madeleine Johansson, who also took part in the occupation, told Dublin Gazette she was disappointed in the behaviour of the property company.

“When we first walked in to the lobby the member of staff said he would speak to management,” she said.

“We were later handed a piece of paper with two phone numbers of senior managers, we phoned both numbers (one of which was a Canadian number) but got no answers so we left messages.

“I think it’s very disappointing that they refused to engage with us, there was one TD (Paul Murphy) and three councillors (myself, Emma Hendrick and Brian Leech) looking to speak to them about a number of issues such as high rents.

“It shows a blatant disregard of public representatives and of ordinary people affected by the housing crisis.

“I also think that the behaviour of the Gardaí on the day was inappropriate.

“We were engaged in an act of peaceful civil disobedience but were accused by the Gardaí of the criminal offence of trespassing and threatened with arrest.

“The same gardaí refuse to protect private tenants who are being illegally evicted by their landlords.”

Dublin Gazette contacted Gerry O Sullivan from PR firm Q4PR, who look after media relations for the property company, for a comment.

With regard to the occupation, he said Ires Reit had: “No comment at all to make on that.”

The local representatives, who were joined by other protesters, said their aim was to highlight “the parasitic role of corporate landlords.”