Apollo House group: Homeless ‘will not be thrown to the wolves’

Occupiers had been told by High Court to vacate building by Wednesday at noon

Brendan Ogle of the Home Sweet Home campaign at Apollo House. “We have been hearing a lot of talk about beds being ready in emergency accommodation but we are not talking about beds, we are talking about homes.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

The organisers of the Apollo House occupation have said they will not "throw people without homes to the wolves" by complying with a High Court order that they leave the building later this week. The occupiers of the office building, which has been used to house up to 40 homeless people over Christmas, have been told by the High Court to vacate the building by midday on Wednesday, with the case up for mention in the court on Thursday morning at the request of the receivers.

However Brendan Ogle, one of the organisers of the Home Sweet Home campaign, said the movement would not just walk away from the homeless people it had helped in the absence of an acceptable and deliverable commitment on emergency housing from Government.

Mr Ogle said that in the absence of such a commitment and with the deadline set by the courts looming, the campaign had developed a two-pronged strategy which focused on legal advice and the use of public pressure to gather more support. While he said the movement was prepared if the talks did not deliver results, he hoped that a deal could be reached between the organisation and the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney ahead of the deadline.

A Home Sweet Home delegation met Mr Coveney and department officials for seven hours on Friday and, while the talks broke up without any agreement, Mr Ogle described the atmosphere as positive and constructive. He said the campaign had served not only to raise awareness of the housing and homeless crisis but of the nature of the types of accommodation available.


“We have been hearing a lot of talk about beds being ready in emergency accommodation but we are not talking about beds, we are talking about homes, we are talking about rooms where people can leave their belongings securely. We are talking about proper medical care.”

He said that over the course of Friday’s meeting, the group was “somewhat reassured by things said but the question is, can we trust that these things will be delivered? It is very hard to hold someone to something said in a room in the absence of any kind of specific details and without written confirmation. If we can’t trust a minister, we are not just going to walk away and throw people without homes to the wolves, we are not going to do that.”

He expressed disappointment that the meeting was between Home Sweet Home and just one Government department. "We were dealing with Environment, but Finance has a role to play too and we were disappointed there was nobody from that department in the room. The Department of Health has a role to play as well and ultimately so does the Department of the Taoiseach. There are political considerations at play and we have to ask if one minister deliver all of these different things."

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor