Sunday 22 January 2017

Apollo House not a long-term solution, Sheridan admits

Gavin White and Ryan Nugent

Published 21/12/2016 | 02:30

Kodaline perform with Glen Hansard at Apollo House in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kodaline perform with Glen Hansard at Apollo House in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Director Jim Sheridan admitted the Apollo House occupation is merely a "band aid" and not a solution to the homeless crisis.

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Sheridan was speaking after a concert outside the Poolbeg Street premises in Dublin as receivers launched High Court action aimed at regaining possession of the property.

Agents acting for Apollo House attach a court notice to vacate the building to the gates. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Agents acting for Apollo House attach a court notice to vacate the building to the gates. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Last weekend, the building was taken over by activists and offered as accommodation to the homeless. But the receivers have highlighted serious health and safety risks as well as insurance concerns.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Sheridan said: "We're putting a band aid on it - we know what we're doing.

"We're not causing a revolution, we know that, but can we have a conversation about it?"

Glen Hansard, who performed at the gig, said: "It's illegal for a person to stand in the middle of a highway bleeding but you're still going to have to do what you can to avoid them."

The issue of homelessness was discussed at Cabinet yesterday, with ministers told there were enough beds available to ensure nobody had to spend Christmas on the streets.

Read more: Kodaline, Hozier and Glen Hansard perform at Apollo House as receivers seek injunctions to get homeless to vacate building

A Government spokesperson declined to give a position on the current occupation of Apollo House - but said an additional 210 emergency beds are being provided in Dublin city this month.

Last night hundreds of people from all walks of life volunteered their services at the 'call to action' meeting organised by the Irish Housing Network. Volunteers offered their services in security, legal, administration, medical, IT and communications as campaigners face a High Court injunction this morning over the occupation.

Legal proceedings were launched by insolvency practitioners Tom O'Brien and Simon Coyle, who were appointed joint receivers over the building by a Nama-related company, Nalm, in 2014.

The receivers say they are "sympathetic to the plight of the homeless" but the occupation of the former office building, which has been organised by the Home Sweet Home Coalition, is illegal and a form of political protest.

They also said that the building was never intended to be used for residential purposes. Rossa Fanning SC, for the receivers, told the court that due to the occupation, the building, which has been vacant since mid-2015, no longer has fire insurance.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted lawyers for the receivers permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings and listed the case for today.

Irish Independent

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