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Sunday 25 June 2017

Conflict denied as top council official is mum of activist

Home Sweet Home spokesperson Rosi Leonard. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Home Sweet Home spokesperson Rosi Leonard. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ryan Nugent

A member of Dublin City Council (DCC) senior management is the mother of a leading Apollo House campaigner, the Irish Independent can reveal.

City architect Ali Grehan - who was involved in the council's modular housing scheme - is the mother of Home Sweet Home spokesperson Rosi Leonard.

City architect Ali Grehan. Photo: Arthur Carron
City architect Ali Grehan. Photo: Arthur Carron

Home Sweet Home is the umbrella group operating the campaign which has occupied Apollo House for more than two weeks, housing 40 people.

Ms Grehan is one of 10 members of the council's senior management group which assists chief executive Owen Keegan.

A number of leading figures including Mr Keegan and deputy chief Brendan Kenny have criticised the occupation of the building, saying that it is not fit for purpose.

Despite her mother's high position within DCC, Ms Leonard insisted there was no conflict in each other's roles.

"Not at all, absolutely not," Ms Leonard said. "My mother is her own person, I'm my own person.

"I'm one of those people suffering under the housing crisis, I'm in this because I have friends of mine, I have family of mine (that are suffering), I'm struggling to envisage a future for myself.

Singers Damien Dempsey and Glen Hansard at a briefing by activist group Home Sweet Home in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Collins
Singers Damien Dempsey and Glen Hansard at a briefing by activist group Home Sweet Home in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Collins

"I want to settle down and be part of a community and right now I'm living with the next six months in mind," she added.

A spokeswoman for the city council also denied there was any problem.

"Dublin City Council is aware that Rosi Leonard is the daughter of city architect Ali Grehan. We are not concerned about any potential conflict of interest as Ali Grehan has not been involved with the organisers and has no role within the structure of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE)," she said.

Meanwhile, seven delegates from the Home Sweet Home campaign will meet Housing Minister Simon Coveney today in an attempt to come to an agreement that could see residents at Apollo House leave the Nama property for alternative accommodation.

Last month, a High Court judge ruled that those occupying the building must vacate it by next Wednesday.

Trade unionist Brendan Ogle, who is a key figure in the campaign said yesterday the campaign had no intention of occupying another buildings.

Mr Ogle said the representatives meeting Mr Coveney today were going into the talks with a positive mindset.

He said he wanted the Minister to put forward other Nama properties that were suitable or could easily be made suitable for residential use.

Irish Independent

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