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Solidarity with “Home Sweet Home” occupation

category national | housing | press release author Sunday December 18, 2016 19:54author by sp - Socialist Party Report this post to the editors

Press Release - 16th Dec 2016

Statement from AAA councillor and Socialist Party member Michael O’Brien on the occupation of Apollo House by housing rights activists with “Home Sweet Home”

Press statement: Councillor Michael O’Brien, Anti Austerity Alliance, Beaumont Donaghmede ward, Dublin City Council

Emergency motion submitted for tomorrow’s Dublin City Council North Central Area Committee meeting in Coolock calling for official recognition of Apollo House emergency accommodation and withdrawal of injunction

Commenting on foot of an emergency motion he has just submitted for tomorrow (Monday’s) North Central Area Committee meeting of Dublin City Council in the Civic Offices, Bunratty Road, Coolock, Anti Austerity Alliance Councillor Michael O’Brien said:

“The text of the motion reads as follows and speaks for itself:

That this area committee:

– Commends the actions of activists and celebrities, many of whom are from the North Central area, behind Home Sweet Home initiative who have occupied Apollo House since the night of Thursday 15th December to render it habitable for people rough sleeping on Dublin’s streets.
– Furthermore commends the widespread public support that has manifested itself in terms of volunteers and donations
– Recognises the steady increase in the uptake of accommodation at Apollo House, rising to 30 as of Saturday 17th December, by people who were prior to this initiative rough sleeping
– Deplores the fact that an injunction has been served on the people occupying Apollo House by those claiming ownership of the building and calls upon them to withdraw their action.
– Calls upon Dublin City Council to recognise Apollo House as a bona fide homeless hostel and to ensure that its residents’ time there is wholly reckonable as time served in emergency accommodation from the point of view of them progressing on the priority homeless housing list.

“Tomorrow will be the first opportunity elected councillors and council officials will have had to formally discuss this development. I note the sniffy attitude, particularly from Minister Coveney, to what I would describe as a legitimate and justified act of civil disobedience. The well planned no nonsense approach of the activists stands in marked contrast to the snail’s pace approach of the government who are totally wrapped up in the property rights and the rights of developers and landlords to turn a profit from a basic human need.

“There is also practical aspect to my motion which seeks recognition by Dublin City Council that those who stay in Apollo House be regarded as Homeless Priority on the council’s housing list and will progress on that list in no less a manner than any other person staying in officially recognised emergency accommodation.”

Related Link: http://socialistparty.ie/2016/12/solidarity-home-sweet-home-occupation/
author by An Spreachpublication date Sun Dec 18, 2016 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a comment from the An Spreach facebook page on the Apollo House occupation and in response to news of Legal notice served on activists occupying Dublin office block as reported in the Irish Times
www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/legal-notice-served-on-activists-occupying-dublin-office-block-1.2910168

And now, readers, we see the machinary of the state starting up.

You see using an abandoned building like Apollo House to house the homeless is a crime. That people are homeless and sleep rough is not a crime.

Clearing an ad-hoc homeless shelter like Apollo House is in the interests of safety, they say. But homeless people sleeping rough and the potentiality of death or injury from people or weather is not a safety concern.

This is the paradox of capitalist society and the state.

Ultimately, and the factual truth for which they do not say, is that private property is more valuable and more important than human life and society.

The homelessness is an inconvenient externality. To be paid lip service and to be kept 'in check' by voluntary charities in order to keep up the paradoxical illusion of justice discussed above in the face of public outrage and opinion.

This illusion of justice is exposed by actions such as the occupation of Apollo House. And it would be further shattered by a direct conflict between the occupiers and those they say exist to protect people's safety and the peace

Related Link: https://www.facebook.com/anspreachHAC/
author by Crazy Catpublication date Mon Dec 19, 2016 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Terry McMahon speaking at the Axis Theatre,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zYyvMfkU2g

author by pbppublication date Fri Dec 23, 2016 23:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All credit to the activists and organisations that have occupied Apollo House.

This building, ironically, once housed the Department of Social Protection, which was charged with helping people in need. Today, because of direct action it has been turned into a location which gives homeless people decent accommodation in a warm and secure setting.

The response of official Ireland is absolutely shocking. For the past two years, they have sat back and done nothing while the numbers of people without homes has grown.

In October of this year, there were 2,470 homeless children in emergency accommodation – a huge increase on the 790 children who were in this situation two years previously.

But once people took action themselves, the official propaganda machine started spinning its lies. Two in particular were deployed against the activists.

The first was that there were ‘adequate spaces’ for homeless people already and so there was ‘no need’ for the occupation.

This is a blatant lie. Anyone with eyes to see can find people sleeping in doorways throughout Dublin. Less visible, camps have been erected on canal sites and waste ground. Scores of people are sleeping in warehouses. Only a smug upper class landlord like Simon Coveney would dare to claim there is ‘adequate accommodation’.

The second lie is that Apollo House is not a suitable place for the homeless. But it is far more suitable than doorways or waste ground. Moreover, the activists of Apollo House have gone out of their way to enlist the help of people with social care and nursing skills to help in the building.

In contrast to their slowness in dealing with the actual problem, officialdom has moved with alarming speed to remove the occupiers.

The unelected officials on Dublin City Council have given permission to demolish the building to make way for more office blocks.

Mazars who are the receivers for the NAMA controlled building raced to the courts to get an eviction order. Yet, more irony of ironies, the same company was once commissioned by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) to carry out an Independent Review of Homeless Services.

The courts, of course, obliged by granting them an immediate hearing for their application for injunction.

We should not tolerate this vile, hypocritical response from official Ireland. Any attempt to evict homeless people from Apollo House should be met with mass resistance – mass solidarity protests and a spreading of the occupation to other NAMA buildings.

But as Jim Sheridan, also stated, we should use the occupation to ‘start a conversation’ about what is causing the housing crisis in Ireland.

That conversation should lead us all to get political because homelessness is a direct result of the policies pursued by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

The primary interest of these parties has always been to look after the wealthy. And as the Irish rich have had a long standing love affair with of property speculation, that has meant doing everything they can to re-start a housing bubble – -even if that caused huge social suffering.

This is why they have built hardly any social housing. It is why they will not impose rent controls. It is why they prefer to sell off €200 billion worth of ‘distressed property’ to vulture funds who pay little or no tax.

We have to replace the crooked establishment parties.

pbp_tds_showing_solidarity_at_apollo_house_dec_2016.jpg

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