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Apollo 13 no Apollo House 16 take over!

 A Nama owned building known as Apollo House in Dublin City has been taken over and used as a homeless shelter. Up to 40 rough sleepers are believed to be sleeping in this building. Home Sweet Home a group of housing activists took over this building last week and yesterday they were informed by a judge in the high courts that they have up to 11th January 2017 to vacate this building.

On Thursday 22nd Of December Fountain went down to Apollo house to see what was happening. Fountain was refused access to Apollo House and the reason we were given you have to pre book a visit. We stood outside the main gates and watched people from all walks of life leaving donations at the gates which included clothing, food, and in some cases cash. Just inside the gate area you could see so much of the donations which seem to be building up. Up to seven personal some with two way radios stood inside the gate despite the gate been only opened or accessed through a electronic key pin machine. When PB asked to speak to someone about press releases we were informed that there was no one site at that time to accommodate us. We hung around for over 1 hour then gave up.

I approached an elderly couple who had just donated to this cause, I asked them why they felt they they should donate, the elderly gentleman replied by quoting ” Its about time the people in this country stood up to the so called government and take back our country. He went on to say that in the 19-60’s while he and his wife were at a public demonstration in O’Connell Street about public housing and the shortfall of public hosing. They were attacked by the Gardai who led a baton charge. Another father of two dropped out donations of clothing, I asked him why he felt he had to donate he replied that he does not have too much himself but whatever he had he felt he could share it.

While Fountain was there we witnessed plenty of donations been left off. Also while we were outside a van belonging to the Dublin City Council, (DCC) pulled up and a some kitchen units including cooking appliances, fridges, oven’s etc where all brought in to Apollo house.

Members of the Fr. McVerry trust where inside the building when Fountain arrived. Efforts between various government agencies and Home Sweet Home where also in place trying to find a way of ending this takeover. The DCC did confirm that there was enough beds to accommodate all homeless people who need beds. This confirmation has been met with negative feedback after it emerged that up to 70 homeless people where sleeping on mats in a all night cafe known as Merchant Quay Project, MQP also here in Dublin City.

Whatever the final outcome of Apollo House one has to ask this question should we have to see buildings been taken over or should the Irish government have something in place, after all homeless are not just for Christmas!!!!

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