A number of residents of Dublin City Council-controlled homes may have committed fraud after they allegedly told a developer they owned the properties and secured compensation for planned demolition work in the area.
The Herald can reveal officers in Pearse Street Garda Station have been made aware of the matter after a total of €4,000 was paid out to four individuals.
They live around the Cuffe Street area of Dublin city centre and had approached the developer of a new building at Greenside House raising "concerns," before seeking compensation.
It's understood that among their initial requests were the promise of job opportunities for locals, before looking for payment to compensate for potential damage to property and disruption during the building.
The developer agreed to pay out €12,000 to each household in instalments, before learning only one of those who had made representations actually owned their property.
The rest are understood to be under the ownership of the council. A proportion of the money - around €1,000 each - had already been paid and gardaí were alerted to the issued.
Demolition work at the site was due to begin on Monday, last week. However, there have since been protests and claims of intimidation of security staff and contractors. In one video, seen by the Herald, a man wielding a sledgehammer can be seen approaching security guards at the site.
It's understood protesters are demanding money from the developer behind the project.
Asked about the alleged fraud, a council spokesperson declined to elaborate on what action it is taking.
"Dublin City Council understands that the gardaí are investigating this allegation," a statement said.
"We are not in a position to comment any further."
A senior source familiar with the case said that following the initial payments, others began to protest in the hope of being paid off.
"This seems to be an opportunistic attempt by some unscrupulous individuals to get money out of the developer on this occasion.
"It seems they misrepresented themselves as owners of the property and a deal was made in good faith by the developer," the senior source said.
"However, there are number of issues at play here.
"For example, if any damage was actually done to council property, it would be the council that would have to be compensated."
Gardai said in a statement: "Gardaí in Pearse Street are aware of the incident and at this time enquiries are ongoing into the matter."