Sunday 30 April 2017

'Apollo House raised awareness, now we must act'

Glen Hansard, Christy Dignam and Jim Sheridan outside Apollo House in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Glen Hansard, Christy Dignam and Jim Sheridan outside Apollo House in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Laura Lynott

Director Jim Sheridan has insisted the Home Sweet Home movement achieved something despite homeless figures continuing to spiral.

Recent figures show a record number of people are homeless, with more than 7,000 on the streets.

"The homeless figures went up last month but we did achieve things," Sheridan said.

"We got beds, accommodation for couples, 90 people looked after. We got new places opened but you know what, we raised awareness and now we really have to do something."

A mixture of fear and civic responsibility drove Sheridan to become engaged with the HSH movement.

"The fear came from me, that I don't want to be held responsible if people are dying," he said.

The renowned director made new documentary 'Inside Apollo House' during the occupation of the building.

"I thought the best way to deal with that [fear] was to go in with a camera to show we were as responsible as we could possibly be."

The documentary tells the story of how the group of activists took over the Nama-controlled office block and transformed it into a homeless shelter.

Sheridan said he had offered to put up homeless people in his home after an eviction order for Apollo House was passed by the High Court.

"I offered that when the judge threw us out," Sheridan said. I said 'I can put some of them up in my place,' but Brendan Ogle said that would be a farce."

'Inside Apollo House' airs on TV3 tonight at 10pm

Irish Independent

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