‘Mattress Mick has a factory, Mattress Mick has property… He could house them until the situation is resolved.’

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Quite how a mattress factory would be more suitable than Apollo House or other solutions as homeless accommodation remained a little unclear throughout a rather lively debate on Liveline between Mick Flynn, aka “Mattress Mick”, and Dublin City Councillor, Mannix Flynn.

And when presenter, Joe Duffy, asked Councillor Flynn to expand on his suggestion, the councillor stuck to his guns.

“What I’m saying is that mattress Mick has a factory, that mattress Mick has property. And lawfully, he could house them until the situation is resolved.”

Needless to say, mattress Mick didn’t “agree entirely” with Councillor Flynn’s suggestion.

Today is January 11th, a hugely significant date for activists occupying Apollo House, as it is the day a court order has decreed that they must leave the Dublin city centre property. But at the time of writing, there is no sign of that happening in full, as some residents have stayed put, with supporters singing songs in solidarity outside the property.

Speaking on Liveline, in support of those occupying, Mick Flynn gave his reaction to the seeming defiance of the court order.

“We never wanted to defy the court order. We were led to believe that the accommodation that would be offered to the residents would be better than what is there at the moment. Some of the residents have been re-housed during the week…. But the accommodation they were given is not up to the same standard, even as Apollo House. Some of them actually returned to Apollo House.”

Negotiations took place last week between the Home Sweet Home group, representing those in Apollo House, Dublin City Council, and the Minister for Housing. And earlier this week, it seemed an agreement had been reached to house the residents in suitable accommodation. But the quality of that accommodation, it seems, was not satisfactory. According to Mick:

“Apollo house is not a luxury hotel. But it’s a safe haven for a lot of very vulnerable people.”

But taking issue with Mick, and the Home Sweet Home occupation, Councillor Mannix Flynn had this to say.

“… this is a political issue that is exploiting homelessness, that is being led by the likes of Brendan Ogle….They are in a building illegally. The accommodation there is not suitable. Dublin City Council, Peter McVerry Trust, and all the agencies, have offered appropriate accommodation.”

He went on to suggest that perhaps Mick himself, and his co-activists, could house this particular homeless group themselves, perhaps in his own factories and warehouses.

“It would not be rocket science for Mattress Mick and others to be able to facilitate the 20 odd people that are in that building elsewhere, legally. Vacate that building and maybe, if they wish, continue their campaign.”

So, a mattress factory as a homeless shelter? No bathing facilities, no cooking or laundry facilities, no living or entertainment, but at least they’ll sleep in style?

To listen to the merits of Councillor Flynn’s argument in full click here.

© The Listener 2017

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