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Friday, June 17, 2005

Frist Seomra Meeting in warehouse

Seomra spraoi 16/06/2005

Attendance – about 20

Chair: Shorty

Minutes: Owensie



Running of warehouse

How space can be used


Public meetings


Meeting on 14th July

Lease: Mark has drawn up letter to landlord – william to sign


To name the space: seomra spraoi

To look for the old principals

Look at examples of other spaces

Dara (+Shorty?) to look at safe/positive space principals (Daren belfast has also drawn up an example)

Uses of the space

Plans drawn up by Stephen

The general uses people want to make of it are

Drop in space

Meeting Space


Bike Workshop

Art Space/Dark Room

1 or 2 rehearsal Rooms

Media Room

Musical Equipment Storage Space

(Library (?))

maintenance – electricity has to be sorted before anything else – both Owensy and Willaim might have contacts


Insulating front + sound proofing rooms plus knocking rebuilding etc

A list of people who'll be around during g8 drawn up

Post G8 Meeting 16th of July Saint Nicholas of Mayra – separate meetings on how G8 went and on taking over ware house
James to do a leaflet to be taken to G8 protests
Dara passed around standing forms – we only have 100 a month so far so we need to up it urgently

18th July – Jill to book Lower Deck for benefit gig

Working groups

Electrician – Ciaran (through William)

Positive Space – Shorty/Dara

Principals – Conor, William, Liz

Funds/stall – Owensie/Shorty

Willie offered Red ink PO Box address for people posting back standing order forms.

Next Meeting Next Thursday 23rd 8pm Warehouse

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

last 2 weeks minutes plus some thoughts from Autonomous Anonymous

NB: next week's meeting will be at the Warehouse: Thursday 16th June

Seomra Spraoi (yippee!)
Minutes of Meeting
Date: Thursday, 9 June 2005
Location: EENGO, Lr Camden St
Present: 6 people

It was decided to hold a couple of bigger meetings before 1 August to get
groups and individuals involved; to discuss what the space will be used for;
and to assess what physical changes to make to the space. These should
happen AFTER the G8, as before then people will be focused on G8; also when
people return from Scotland they will hopefully be keen to get involved in
ongoing activity; and we could have a weekend or Saturday gathering which
combines a post-G8 feedback meeting with a social centre public meeting. The
Irish "barrio" in Scotland will be great for flyering people about coming to
a public meeting back in Dublin.

We decided to go for two meetings for starters:
+ Thursday 14th July (about 7.30pm): a meeting at the Warehouse (subject to
their agreement) to look around, decide what walls to change etc etc. We
will get friends and acquaintances who are architects, electricians,
builders to come along and also current Warehouse people obviously.
+ I think the other meeting was agreed to be the evening of Friday 15th July
at Nicholas of Myra, like our old Seomra Spraoi events, but it would be
mostly a public meeting and just a wee bit of music/food.
(We did also discuss Saturday instead of Friday and the Saturday could be
divided between G8 feedback and social centre public meeting.)

+ It was pointed out that the Warehouse is not our ideal space for a social
centre: it is not autonomous; late evening gigs are limited; we will keep
looking around for another space to move on to.
+ We must involve community groups as much as possible.
+ Centre should be run in a non-hierarchical way; should be autonomous.

Mark had previously undertaken to draft a letter to the landlord. Now
William will contact Mark and see if that's done and circulate it to the
list for approval. It was suggested that maybe we should say as little as
possible to the landlord, just give the impression that it will continue
with the current arrangement, i.e. artists' studios (because if he thought
it was going to be a public venue with lots of moneymaking gigs etc he might
raise the rent or refuse us altogether). But it was pointed out that
presumably we will be organising as much publicity as possible for the
social centre and so it would be better to be straight up with him from the
start, in other words say in the letter that while it will be an artistic
space, there will be more events where the public will come in (to look at
art and drink coffee).

The rent could be paid by standing order from the Seomra Spraoi credit union
account. This would mean the names on the lease would probably be the same
as the two names on the account: Dara and Owensie.

There was some chat about revenue etc.
Dara: with two rehearsal spaces for bands, we might have five bands paying
50 euro a week each, which would be 1,000 euro a month. Also, cafe; films;
internet cafe etc; and of course standing order forms.

+ Ruth undertook to dig out fire regulations so we know how many fire doors
we would need etc etc.
+ William undertook to see if Dissent has planned any G8 feedback meeting
yet. Have now found out that apparently they haven't yet, so we could
suggest the above-mentioned doubling up of that with a social centre public
+ Shortie undertook to ask Warehouse if we could use it for next week's
meeting (they have since told him Yes); also if we could use it for 14th
July meeting (that seems to be a Yes too).
+ Duncan undertook to talk to Indymedia about their running regular
training/workshops/screenings - in fact to have Indymedia's real-world space
in the social centre. Also if they can organise wireless Internet access, so
we'd have a WiFi internet cafe!
+ Duncan undertook to talk to community groups about getting involved.

Next Thursday's meeting (16 June) will be AT THE WAREHOUSE. We need as many
people as possible to come along to discuss some important


Minutes of Meeting. Seomra Spraoi

Date: Thursday, 2 June 2005
Location: EENGO Offices, Lower Camden Street,
Present: Dara, James, Seoidin, Christian, Tadhg, Fernanda, Clare, Liz,
Krossie, Mark.

Moore Street
Special Project


Moore Street
A number of people have visited Moore St to speak to the Traders. Margaret
Buckley is a spokesperson for the Moore St Traders and seems like the person
we should be talking to. Unfortunately we were not able to go along to the
Council meeting which had been previously mentioned as there was a mix up
with the dates. There was a feeling that our approach is slightly scattered
at the moment, a focused group is needed to regular visit the Traders to
find out what is going on.
It was stated that the Traders were interested in the idea of having a
picnic. Perhaps this could take place during the summer.

So definite decisions were reached with regards to this issue.

Special Project
Briefly discussed. A date was established and further information is

The issue of Seomra Spraoi taking on the Warehouse as a premises was
discussed at length. We began by doing a round to get the general feeling of
the group towards the suggestion. Apologies to those misquoted, or those
points mistakenly omitted.
Person 1 – take it, have a rehearsal space, provide a strong room for
valuables/equipment, keep running the vegan café, put the library into a
separate room and create an infoshop, get people to join the library, have
film screenings once a week.
Person 2 – It would be a huge undertaking, people perceive it has a long way
out but this is not true. We would need to broaden its appeal to attract a
wider range. A lot of money will be needed.
Person 3 – Take it on
Person 4 – Create rehearsal rooms, this would be a unusual offering in this
city. If we urge everyone to make a monthly donation we can cover the costs.
Make the place welcoming and easy for people to spend time there and they
will return.
The Warehouse was subdivided in an ad hoc manner, we need to re-imagine the
entire place, use mezzanine structures to provide storage while retaining
floor space.
It may be possible to agree with the Landlord that we have a grace period
when we could renovate while not paying rent.
Person 5 – crash, toddle, grab, smile.
Person 6 – Take it, it is already operating as a social centre. Show films
to raise money, continue the café and increase the food prices slightly, as at
present, meals are just €1. Provide some art studio spaces.
Person 7 – Sounds good. Realistically, there may be problems with neighbours
if there are loud gigs. It must be clear to all using the space how it is
Person 8 – It is very cold in the Warehouse. Heating could be a big issue. 6
Months would be a good length for the lease. How many people would we have?
A good rota would need to be organised. Does anyone from Seomra Spraoi want
to live there?
Person 9 – The location of the Warehouse doesn’t matter. Heating will be a
big issue. Running a social centre will take a lot of time and money. If
there are less than 10 people coming to the meetings now can we be sure that
we will be able to run a centre? We need to get a lot of people to help out.
Person 10 – Go for it. It will be lots of work. It is not the final
solution, just a beginning. This location has previous history which will be
beneficial. We could continue to have some fund raisers in other places
outside of the Warehouse.

Following this round and a brief discussion on the points raised it was
agreed that we would be interested in renting the Warehouse for 6 months,
from August 1st 2005. This was a definite decision.

Points that were raised during the general discussion:
· Many people may not have money but can give time. Time will be more
valuable to us.
· We will provide a resource for all existing groups. Centre would be part
of the social “movements”. Hopefully, all groups will feel part of Seomra
· We should have a sign up sheet to encourage people to volunteer to carry
out the tasks required to keep the centre running smoothly.
· We could use the Warehouse now to advertise what we are trying to create.
· We need to get a proper grasp of what exactly we are proposing to ensure
we all agree.
· Good planning is essential, lots of work needs to be put in to clean, tidy
and prepare the place.
· Are we just providing a community centre for the disaffected?
· A proper organisational structure needs to be set up and extended out to
· Have some events over the summer to raise money and awareness.

Things to do (and those taking responsibility to get it started):
Ø Prepare letter for Landlord - Mark
Ø Prepare a proposal summarising what we would like to use the Warehouse
for. This may be given to the landlord. – Christian
Ø Get list of possibly interested in groups – James
Ø Get drawings, plans of the Warehouse, look into services/utilities
provided. – Clare, Seoidin, Christian
Ø Contact the people in the Warehouse and communicate the following points:
Ø we want to take it, if we can get lease for 6 months, we will contact the
Ø Could we move our meetings to the Warehouse now?
Ø Could we try to run the Vegan café one evening a week? (possibly same
evening as meeting) – Seoidin, Fernanda
Ø Leaflet to let people know that we intend to start in the Warehouse –
James (well actually he didn’t volunteer to do this but he suggested it and
then left the room and was nominated in his absence.
Ø Type up the minutes and put them on the blog - Clare


For the creation of an autonomous space

12 point plan for a social/autonomous centre in Dublin.

1. A 'social' centre does not mean solely a place for socialising; the word stems from the 'movement of the social' or 'socialism' (in the broadest possible definition of the word) as opposed to the movement of capital, i.e. capitalism. Across Europe, which has a long established tradition of the social, these social centres are part of a much wider fabric of resistance and culture than the mere buildings in which they are housed.

2. An 'autonomous' centre means that the centre is distinct and independent of state and commerical reliances. It both acts independently of and in opposition to forces of oppression and mediocrity. Autonomous in that it seeks to exist beyond the realm of money and control.

3. Historically Ireland does not have the same tradition of the movement of the social that other European countries do. The pyschopolitical geography of the civil war split means that we live in a country with a consistent 75% vote for right-wing parties, who favour big business and capital. Therefore any attempts to create a centre must take this into account. We cannot simply mirror the experiences and methods of our neighbours; we must learn from them but also put them into play in a highly localised context.

4. With this in mind, support must be sought among all movements of the social here, including those who may not necessarily agree with one another, or the methods of a group attempting to set up a centre. Practically, this entails calling an assembly of all interested and related parties, including homeless support networks, community groups, residents associations, artists, musicians, bored teenagers, housing and tenant organisations, local representatives, squatters, building co-operatives, housing trusts, and so on. If a centre is to be a part of the movement of the social, then it must aim to encompass many different disparate elements within it. Reaching beyond existing circles of contact must be prioritised.

5. A centre must be autonomous from the movement of capital. In this city, this includes the members of the landlord/property-owning class. To this end, a centre should and must be located in a disused/unoccupied building. Every dog in the street knows that "rent money is dead money". Contributing money to landlords only perpetuates the misery of spiralling and unaffordable rents, property speculation, neglect and dereliction. Occupying empty and unused buildings is a strong, loud affirmation of rejection of these values.

6. At the proposed [4.] meeting, a group attempting to set up a centre should fully explain their intentions and reasons behind occupying a derelict building. This will facilitate discussion - and more than likely disagreement and dispute - within the various attendees. Nevertheless there is support among many against continued dereliction of buildings, particularly in inner city areas where large tracts of land and/or housing are left rot by speculators and developers, to the detriment of local communities. People not within the "activist" subculture may not neccesarily support "illegal" actions; this is where debate and discourse must occur to elaborate on why the law should be changed. Full minutes, notes, attendance etc should be taken at all meetings.

7. When a suitable building has been found, the location should only be known to those that intend to occupy it. A public demonstration/march in support of the occupation will be held, arriving at the building - which ideally should be occupied and secured (and cleaned!) several days in advance. This is where the culmination of collective efforts within the public meeting/consultation process will hopefully occur. Supporters or well-wishers may not want to personally co-occupy the building, but will lend support and advice when the occupation is made public.

8. Inevitably moves will be made against the occupiers to have them evicted. This is where the support of others will come in useful. Anyone who chooses to be involved in an occupation must know and be assured that there will be a strong legal and financial campaign behind them if/when they come before the courts, and they should not be afraid. Laws in other European countries that guarantee some rights to squatters have not simply been given over, they have been fought for. To this end, at some point there will have to be a collective legal effort which seeks to change or clarify existing Irish property laws.

9. At present, there is conflicting legislation in Irish law surrounding the occupation of derelict land or buildings. Pre-1921 legislation guarantees some legal rights, although this has been somewhat extinguished by the Trespass Act of 2002. It is possible also that the occupiers could be prosecuted under the Prohibition of Forceful Entry act, which relates to burglaries. Nevertheless, there exists a space in land law to determine the intention in the mind of the occupier. This is where the notes from the meetings [6.] should be produced as evidence to show that the group was acting with various political and social intentions, rather than a simple trespass for criminal purposes. Other people such as the supporters/well-wishers who may not be directly involved in an occupation could be called as witnesses to explain the reasons behind the occupation.

10. This is where the issue of "renting vs. occupation" is answered best. (Aside from [5.]) Rent on a small premises within the city canals that would facilitate the general purposes of a centre could run up to €2,000 euro a month, or €24,000 euro a year (excluding costs involved in upkeep, electricity, etc). This money will have to be raised somehow. This money could instead be used to mount a serious legal campaign/defence of those involved in occupying a derelict building. A lawyer should be contacted long in advance of an occupation and informed of the action. With this, the people involved in occupation will feel more secure and confident, and less likely to up and leave when a confrontation occurs.

11. When the centre is up and running there must be a collective effort on the part of everyone involved to make the centre as active and useful as possible. The more events that happen in the centre, the more the word will spread among the public that the centre exists and is 'open for business'. The centre must act in opposition to lethargy and apathy.

12. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until desired effect becomes real.

Join the discussion at


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