Sunday 13 October 2019

'We are involved in an act of civil disobedience... it is an illegal act,' Glen Hansard tells The Late Late Show

Glen Hansard on The Late Late Show with host Ryan Tubridy. Image: RTE
Glen Hansard on The Late Late Show with host Ryan Tubridy. Image: RTE

Amy Mulvaney

Glen Hansard has revealed that he, Hozier, Saoirse Ronan, Christy Moore and other Irish celebrities are involved in the taking over of Apollo House as a shelter for the homeless.

Speaking on The Late Late Show tonight, Hansard told host Ryan Tubridy that the group "are involved in an act of civil disobedience," as Home Sweet Home took over NAMA-owned Apollo House on Poolbeg Street, Dublin, for use as a homeless shelter.

The Oscar-winning singer-songwriter told Tubridy that the group is occupying the bulding "illegally."

“We are involved in an act of civil disobedience. I call upon the very spirit of the Irish people to look at this, it is an illegal act," he said.

"We have taken a building that essentially belongs to the people of Ireland and that has been lying empty. The Government will shelter 200 people this Christmas and there’s 260 people between the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal in Dublin."

"Now this is not only a Dublin issue but between the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal there are 260 people tonight homeless. What we would like to do is bridge the gap. We’ll be asking people to volunteer, we’ll be asking people to get behind the idea. It is a radical idea,” he said.

When asked what the group would do if they are told by the authorities to evacuate the building, Hansard (46), said: “You appeal to the better nature of the Government and NAMA."

"This is a NAMA-owned building. If everybody pays tax in this audience, if anyone knows their stuff they know that that is essentially our building. We are just going to take it for a few months."

The idea of the take-over was born through conversations with different artists and friends over the year, he said.

“I found myself part of a group of people who are essentially concerned citizens and we wondered is there a way that we could stage an intervention on our own behalf."

"So I find myself now part of group called Home Sweet Home. It is a group of artists, a group of friends, a group of people that we know and love. Like minded souls. Jim Sheridan, Andrew Hozier, Saoirse Ronan, Christy Moore. Mattress Mick has been great, he has really helped us out a lot. He has donated a lot of beds."

Hansard said Home Sweet Home aims to start a "national conversation" around homelessness and that the crisis "should be a national emergency."

What we are trying to do is get a national conversation started. This should be a national emergency... The homelessness is at a level now, not since the Famine have families been homeless like they are right now. It is really, really difficult,” he said.

The appearance was well received on twitter tonight:

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