Sunday 25 February 2018

Homeless men end their five-day occupation of council offices

Jay Bissett and Tommy Donnelly. Picture: June Tobin Maher
Jay Bissett and Tommy Donnelly. Picture: June Tobin Maher
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Two homeless men who spent five days camped out in a council building have left after confirming the situation has been “resolved”.

Tommy Donnelly and Jay Bissett travelled to Bray Town Council Offices on Thursday after their previous accommodation was closed due to health and safety reasons in March.

The pair spent the entire weekend inside the building - refusing to leave until they were given answers about their situation.

Friends and supporters supplied them with food and water through a tiny slot in the window.

But shortly after lunchtime today Mr Donnelly and Mr Bissett left the building and are now travelling to a meeting with Wicklow County Council.

They told reporters that the situation had been "resolved".

Sinn Féin TD John Brady explained that he has arranged temporary accommodation for the two men while a more permanent solution is worked out.

“We had to bring an end to this troubling situation and get the offices opened again for all members of the public.

“I have secured short-term temporary accommodation and a meeting is organised with Wicklow County Council today.”

He explained that this is not a lasting solution to the wider problem.

“Homeless people are very vulnerable and unfortunately they are having to resort to measures of desperation.

“These two men represent so many people out there in similar situations. They are part of a wider serious problem that needs to be more carefully examined.”

Sharon Briggs, People Before Profit, also attended the scene over the weekend said the two men had been in sheltered accommodation until March but their building was closed down after health and safety concerns were raised by the residents.

At least six residents were unable to find alternative housing and a number of these resorted to sleeping on Bray beach.

“They didn’t choose to be homeless. They went in and this council put them in this situation.”

She continued: “They did nothing wrong, all they wanted was a roof over their heads.”

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