Gardaí in Listowel, Co Kerry are investigating a “sinister” campaign in which false acquisition notices are being placed on vacant and derelict buildings in the town.
A local Fine Gael councillor says property owners have been left in shock and he warned against responding to the phone number and email on the notices.
Large notices under the heading “Vacant Building Acquisition Project” have appeared on the windows of around eight houses and shopfronts in the North Kerry town since the weekend.
The A4 notices contain the Eircode of the premises and state, “This building has been vacant for an extended period of time.”
The intention is “to acquire and utilize the properties for the people of Ireland,” the notice continues.
“This is a declaration to enter this building and grounds within the premises at the above Eircode to acquire and utilize said property for the people of Ireland,” it says.
The owner will have 28 days to make contact or forfeit the property, according to the notice.
However, local Fine Gael councillor Mike Kennelly says the notices do not come from a legitimate authority and has warned against responding to the number and the email provided.
Not all the properties are vacant and some are seeking grants for renovation, he said.
Gardaí have advised not to make contact, Mr Kennelly said.
“With all that’s going on, this is very sinister,” he said.
Mr Kennelly said there was an element of intimidation in the targeting.
Meanwhile a Facebook post by a group named “Vacant Buildings Acquisition Project” bearing the same logo as the notices is encouraging people to print off notices and place them on vacant buildings. The post which references “positive change” says it wants to put an end to people dying on the streets needlessly.
The group says it is fighting homelessness and is based in Cork.
“We don’t need a new house. We just want a house,” the post on Listowel says.
They have been asked for comment via the email address.
Gardaí in Listowel are investigating.