Wednesday 28 June 2017

Ex-Apollo house resident claims people are 'smoking and injecting heroin' in his new accommodation

Vacation of Apollo House in doubt

From left, musicians Glen Hansard and Christy Dignam and filmmaker Jim Sheridan outside Apollo House in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gerry Mooney
From left, musicians Glen Hansard and Christy Dignam and filmmaker Jim Sheridan outside Apollo House in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Members of Home Sweet Home and the Irish Housing Network marching from Apollo House to the Deptartment of Finance yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers
Housing Minister Simon Coveney agreed to find new accommodation for those living in Nama-controlled Apollo House
David Collins in his room at Apollo House Picture: Colin O'Riordan
Kodaline and Glen Hansard
Carrie Hennessy, holding a petition with over 4,000 signatures and Niamh McDonald, Irish Housing Network, speak to journalists outside the Deptartment of Finance. Photo: Damien Eagers
Inside Apollo House
Apollo House wellness room
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A former resident of Apollo House has claimed that the homeless accommodation he is currently staying in has "people getting, injecting and smoking heroin".

The vacation of Apollo House is in doubt as homeless campaigners have accused Housing Minister Simon Coveney of "bad faith", after eight residents returned to the make-shift hostel.

Home Sweet Home, the group behind the occupation of the former office block, has claimed that accommodation offered to residents of Apollo House was "completely unsuitable to their needs".

"Home Sweet Home will, as per the agreement, only leave when the resident’s needs have been met. The long and short term needs of the residents, as of this evening, have not been met, and only when they have been met will the residents and Home Sweet Home be leaving Apollo House," the group said in a statement.

The group are due to vacate the premises at noon on Wednesday as per a court direction made before Christmas.

One man said in the statement said that the accommodation he is currently in includes no keys for residents, no food, has no washing machine.

Included in the litany of complaints is the fact that it's "not possible to sleep due to music and shouting till 4am, phones getting robbed, vomit in the hallways, needles everywhere, atmosphere on the verge of explosion of violence, gang threatening to stomp another resident soon

Campaigner Tommy Gavin told Independent.ie that the deadline they are concerned with is "when residents needs have been met, that's when we leave".

He said: “Senior counsel will be seeking a staying order. It’s a continuation of stay from what was issued on December 21.

“There are around 20 people here at the moment.

“Part of our agreement with the Government was that we wouldn’t be taking in new residents.

“Seeking a stay on the injunction a continuation of stay. That is if the immediate long term needs aren’t met by 12pm tomorrow, not only do we doubt they will but we have serious concern about the commitment being honoured.

“The reason for that is eight former residents re-represented at Apollo House because their new accommodation did not meet their demands.

“It was substandard and unsafe. This isn’t people sounding picky, we’re talking blood on the walls and vomit on the floor.

“We’re seeking a stay because as far as we’re concerned, we’re still willing to meet the terms of the agreement we already made, we’re not asking for anything we haven’t agreed on.

“Part of the agreement was that we wouldn’t leave until the needs are met.

“Clearly they haven’t held up their end of the deal."

A spokesman for Minister Coveney said that as far as he was aware the transition of residents out of Apollo House was continuing as planned, ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

"Five couples and four individuals left today with the assistance of the Peter McVerry Trust," he said.

The latest development comes after the group and the minister came to an agreement on Monday evening.

Campaigners claimed victory following the announcement of two additional homeless accommodation units in Dublin city but the Minister disputed that they were coming on stream as a result of the campaign and said they were already agreed.

As part of the agreement higher standards were also pledged by Mr Coveney.

Dublin City Council declined to comment when contacted by Independent.ie, other than to say "we are working to progress people being accommodated out of Apollo House at the moment".

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