Sunday 18 August 2019

Nama raises security in face of occupation threat

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has been forced to tighten security following information from gardai that activists are planning to occupy the property.

The move is said to have been planned in protest against the Government and Nama's alleged inaction on the housing and homelessness crisis.

Knight Frank, the management company for the property owned by Paddy McKillen and Johnny Ronan, took the precaution of increasing surveillance this weekend to ensure it would not become the latest occupation following the takeover of Apollo House.

Last December, several hundred members of the public gathered at Apollo House as homeless campaigners took up residence at the building.

Brendan Ogle, who played a role in the Apollo House occupation, told the Sunday Independent that he was not behind the latest plans.

However, he was keen to point out that the "[housing and homeless] situation has gotten a lot worse since Apollo House" and urgently needed to be addressed.

"Apollo House succeeded in two ways: it drew attention to the housing and homelessness emergency and it provided a safe and warm environment over Christmas and the New Year so that there were no homeless deaths on the streets," he said.

"However, it completely failed to have any lasting impact on the root causes of the housing emergency."

The Government's latest homeless figures show that the crisis is continuing to deepen around the country.

The Department of Housing highlighted the fact that the number of homeless families in Dublin had decreased slightly. However, the total number of homeless adults accessing emergency accommodation in the State in August increased to 5,222 from 5,187 in July. The number of children living homeless rose more sharply, from 2,973 to 3,048.

Mr Ogle said: "Nama is not doing enough. Both the minister of the day, Michael Noonan, and now Paschal Donohoe, have the power to tell Nama to reassign any land or holdings it has for alternative use.

"Minister Noonan didn't do it but I think Paschal Donohoe is a young man with a lot of promise who can direct Nama to do it and I hope he does."

Sunday Independent

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