coveney

Simon Coveney“We need to focus on the interests of homeless people in Apollo House. Everybody agrees that Apollo house is not a long-term solution.”

Today with Sean O'Rourke

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The Home Sweet Home group that were behind the occupation of Apollo House in Dublin’s city centre have met with widespread support in many quarters, expressed not just through a successful social media campaign, but in actual financial and other donations to help sustain the occupation. In other quarters, their actions have been dismissed as reactionary and publicity-seeking, with occasionally pejorative focus on the ‘celebrity’ nature of the occupation.

But whatever one’s view of the occupation, there is no doubt that the Home Sweet Home movement has made its mark, making its way to the negotiating table with Housing Minister, Simon Coveney.

On Today with Sean O’Rourke, the Minister was interviewed about the agreement which has been reached with the Home Sweet Home group, which will see the remaining residents at Apollo House moved into two new buildings.

“What has been agreed was that we need to focus on the interests of homeless people in Apollo House. Everybody agrees that Apollo house is not a long-term solution for emergency long-term facilities.”

According to the Minister, some of the information given out yesterday was inaccurate and “not a fair reflection” of their discussion. The Home Sweet Home group behind the campaign said they have secured two new homeless hostels which will cost over €4m. These hostels will include improvements such as private rooms, residents having their own keys, and facilities for couples.

Mr Coveney told Sean O’Rourke that the extra two emergency shelters that his Department will be providing were agreed with Dublin City Council before Christmas.

“We had a formal meeting that went on for about seven hours on Friday and I think we made a lot of progress. As result of that meeting, Apollo House, I hope everything goes to plan, will be vacated by Wednesday.”

The homeless campaigners have confirmed that they will vacate Apollo House by Wednesday, in accordance with a court order, having been assured that the 40 homeless residents will get adequate accommodation.

However, they have vowed to continue their campaign with, amongst other things, a legal challenge claiming the Constitution contains a right to housing.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

© The Listener 2017

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