Lord Mayor of Dublin issues cash call to Home Sweet Home

Brendan Carr urges action on unspent funds, but comments portrayed as ‘political stunt’

Almost €130,000 of unspent donations secured by the Home Sweet Home campaign group should be transferred to experienced housing charities, Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr has said.

The group occupied Apollo House, a Dublin city centre office block, for 28 days from mid-December to accommodate homeless people. Accounts last February showed €189,604.75 was donated to the group between December 15th and January 27th, the vast majority through crowd-funding website GoFundMe.

A sum of €60,812.14 was spent between December 16th and January 24th, a significant proportion on professional security services.

A small number of additional donations were since made and about €129,000 remains.


Mr Carr said it would be an “abuse” of donors not to use their money to help alleviate the housing crisis.

“At the time of the Home Sweet Home occupation of Apollo House in Dublin, I questioned whether the campaign had the necessary abilities to make a long-term and effective contribution to ending the housing crisis. Since January there has been no evidence of the group doing anything constructive with the public good will and the funds it raised in late December 2016 and January this year.

“Rather than letting this money lie in an account it should be immediately put to use assisting people in housing need.”

The money should not be “kept unproductively” in a bank account, or be used for “other political purposes” said Mr Carr.

Cycle of crises

“I am calling upon those with authority over the Home Sweet Home funds to do the right thing. These monies should be given to any of the several charities and organisations which have for many decades been doing all they can to both raise awareness and effectively deal with the cycle of crises provoked by the deep seated structural issues in our country’s approach housing provision,” he said.

“There is a housing crisis in our city. I believe it is immoral and indefensible that funds that are available to assist those in dire need are not being put to use doing that.”

However, Dave Gibney of Mandate trade union – who was involved in the campaign group – accused Mr Carr of attacking Home Sweet Home to advance his own political career.

“This is a political stunt. The Lord Mayor is using his position, without ever trying to contact us, to make a grandiose statement attacking a group of well-meaning volunteers.”

Mr Gibney said he intended to organise a meeting shortly to determine the future direction of the organisation and how the remaining money should be spent. He added there was a facility for donations to be returned to those who might wish to recoup them.

“We will take on board the Lord Mayor’s statement. But I do believe he should be spending more time or focusing on the real problems such as the homeless crises presided over by the Minister for Housing and himself as Lord Mayor.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times