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Sweet Home Group of


Celebritys Could Have Made This
Campaign a Success, But They failed
us too


ome staggering figures coming out of the Daft.ie report on
renting in Ireland in 2016.

There are only 4,000 properties to rent in the south of Ireland


(less than available on Air Bnb right now, by the way).

But Minister Simon Coveney has recently been saying that the
private market is now a "social housing solution," and
governemt have paid over 500 million in rent to private
landlords last year alone through the Housing Assistance
Payment scheme.
Rents are also increasing by over 12% nationally every year,
and they've already increased nationally this year too, even
though we apparently received rent controls in December with
a new housing bill that capped rent rises at 4%.

The solution of course is very simple to everyone but people


like Simon Coveney who profit from rent increases - less
reliance on the private market, more public housing for all.
http://www.daft.ie/report/2016-q4-rental-daft-report.pdf


Imprint left on the floor of Apollo House :) Any remaining
equipment or beds have been removed and donated to homeless
charities and volunteer soup runs.

Slan leat Apollo, and well done to all who sailed in her!

Response To Coveneys Undermining
His Commitments To
HomeSweetHome
10th January 2017

Home Sweet Home Campaigns Disappointment with


Coveneys Undermining of his Commitments
The Home Sweet Home Campaign is growing
increasingly concerned about the governments
commitment to honour the terms of the agreement
reached between Minister Simon Coveney and Home
Sweet Home. Recent statements from the minister,
coupled with feedback from Apollo residents who had
recently been placed in substandard accommodation;
have introduced doubt into the proceedings.The
agreement reached yesterday resulting from lengthy
negotiations, set out the terms by which Home Sweet
Home and the Department of Housing would amicably
conclude the occupation of Apollo House, and take
serious measures to address the housing emergency.
Eight residents have returned to Apollo House in the past
twenty four hours distressed that the accommodation
offered to them by DCC were completely unsuitable to
their needs. Drugs and alcohol were being used in the
facilities offered, which represents a clear failure to meet
the specific needs of those residents, and constitutes a
failure to meet the terms of the agreement .
As one former resident of Apollo stated of the type of
accommodation he is currently in:
No keys, no food, no washing machine, no wardrobe,
people getting drunk injecting and smoking heroin in
rooms, not possible to sleep due to music and shouting
till 4am, phones getting robbed, vomit in the hallways,
needles everywhere, atmosphere on the verge of
explosion of violence, gang threatening to stomp another
resident soon.
The Ministers statements undermining the provision of
two new buildings has also raised serious concerns as to
the good faith of the agreements made at the negotiation
table.
It was agreed that two new buildings, additional to the
ones announced by DCC on their website on November
30 2016; were committed to by Coveney in the
negotiations, and the minimum standards in Apollo
House would be the new benchmark for these two new
additional facilities.
The Minister for Housing is downplaying the significant
achievement reached by a citizens intervention in the
worst housing crisis the state has ever seen. In doing so,
the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in
society are being ignored.
Home Sweet Home member Tommy Gavin said:
Yesterday we reached an agreement with Coveney and
we intend on holding him to his agreement. However, the
government cannot accept the precedent that has been
set by direct action. They are claiming that all these
changes that have been enforced already existed,
contrary to DCC and Peter McVerry Trust claiming
otherwise. Is this what government negotiations and
mutual agreements amount to?
Home Sweet Home will, as per the agreement, only leave
when the residents needs have been met. The long and
short term needs of the residents as of this evening have
not been met, and only when they have been met will the
residents and Home Sweet Home be leaving Apollo
House.
The Struggle Continues HSH
Have Left Apollo House, But It
Does Not End Here
13th January 2017
On Thursday 12 January at 10am the majority of the
remaining Apollo House residents and volunteers
vacated the building. This move was extremely difficult,
but necessary. The Apollo House project has always
been affected-led, meaning that decisions are made
with those most affected by homelessness at the heart
of the process. All decisions in Home Sweet Home are
made collectively and everyone involved has an equal
voice. After a lengthy process the decision was made
to vacate the building. This decision was made by the
residents themselves and was necessary to secure the
residents safety, as they could not access proper
health and support services on site due to the court
order. They are currently being rehoused at the
expense of the Home Sweet Home Campaign until the
government can meet its side of the deal struck in
negotiations to provide safe, secure and appropriate
homes for them. The last resident left Apollo House
this evening, and is being supported to find safe and
secure accommodation that suits their needs. We ask
that they be given the privacy they need to move
forward in the coming days and weeks.
Home Sweet Home spokesperson Freda Hughes said,
The life of a homeless person in Ireland is brutal
enough without the stress of being forcibly put out on
the street while temperatures drop below freezing.
Therefore, HSH were left with no option but to move
our residents to a more secure location where they can
have their individual needs assessed and addressed in
a calm and dignified manner. The government has
used the law as a blunt instrument to bludgeon the
most vulnerable people in Irish society by entering into
negotiations in bad faith and waiting for the
Department of Justice to do their dirty work. HSH (IHN)
will continue to take the well-being of all affected by
homelessness and the ever growing housing crisis as
our primary concern.
The group intend to continue to work directly with
former residents to ensure their needs are being met
and offer them support and assistance in building on
the progress made in Apollo House. They are calling
on people to share their experiences and photos of
homeless accommodation in order to promote
minimum standards and create a peer review forum for
those using the services. They are also continuing their
Outreach programme which sees them deliver care
packages of sleeping bags, warm clothes and food to
those sleeping on the streets several nights a week.
HSH is also a campaigning group who are calling for
increased building of social housing units to the tune of
10,000 per year for the next 10 years and a more
meaningful contribution from NAMA towards tackling
the crisis.
Ms. Hughes continued, The Home Sweet Home
Project centred around respect and dignity for all and
is about empowering people. Where the state will not
intervene, its people will and in this case people from
all sectors of society have come together to fight for
the right to a home, a right that this state does not fully
recognise. With less than 300 social housing units built
last year and the Minister for Finance saying that, while
NAMA will provide 20,000 houses over the coming
years, only 10% of them will be used as social
housing, in the middle of the worst housing crisis ever
experienced by this state, it is imperative that people
stand together and fight for a fair and equitable
housing policy which leaves no one behind.


VIGIL FOR APOLLO HOUSE!
11th January 2017

Join us tonight bring candles, sleeping bags, warm


clothes and tents!
https://www.facebook.com/events/188972428243818/
FROM SUPPORT TO DEFEND! WE ARE NOT
BACKING DOWN!
Home Sweet Home is defying the court order to leave
Apollo House, as the demands of the residents have
not been met and they have been forced to return to
Apollo House after being placed in sub-standard
accommodation by the government. We will not leave
until every single resident is guaranteed a safe home,
as was agreed in the negotiations. The high court has
not granted our appeal for an extension of our stay in
Apollo House.
Come and join us in a public vigil tonight at 8pm at
Apollo House and sleep out with us if you can! We will
not back down, we will not leave. Stand with us to
defend the rights and safety of the residents and to
stand up against the governments attempts to subvert
the agreements of Monday night between Dublin City
Council, Simon Coveney and the Home Sweet Home
representatives.
This is not over. Show your support by joining the
public rally tonight and sharing our posts and updates
with the hashtag #EndHomelessnessNow
#ApolloHouse #HomeSweetHome
Tonights gathering will be a rally, a vigil and a sleep
out combined! Anyone who is planning on sleeping out
make sure to bring (extra) warm clothes, sleeping
bags, tents and everything else to keep you warm
during the night! Instruments for some music, warm
drinks and food would and banners also help to keep
up the good spirits! See you there!
Home Sweet Home Public Accounts
6th February 2017
The Home Sweet Home campaign of volunteers, artists
and trade unionists has released its accounts to date. The
campaign raised well over twice the monies (189,000)
it has needed, a large proportion of expenditure arose
from the hiring of professional security for the Apollo
House occupation. This was in light of undertakings
necessary to secure a stay on an evacuation order issued
by the High Court on 21 December 2016.
The Home Sweet Home campaign took a stand in Apollo
House, to say that we can no longer tolerate the crisis of
homelessness in this country, which is a direct result of
the housing emergency. The people of Ireland stood with
Apollo House, an occupied NAMA building which was
converted into a shelter for homeless people and run
entirely by volunteers, through their public expressions
of support, through their offers of their time, and
through their donations. This support enabled the
biggest sustained action this country has seen in
decades, and the continuation of a campaign to end
homelessness and for the right to housing. The campaign
began with Apollo House, but it will not end there.
Home Sweet Home Ireland
Home Sweet Home is a campaign to end homelessness
in Ireland.

There are 260 people sleeping on the streets of Dublin
every single night with more than 6,500 'officially
homeless' people, including 2,400 children growing up in
hotel rooms. 70 families a month are still losing their
homes.

The life expectancy for a homeless woman in Ireland is
38, roughly the same age as during the famine period of
1847.

This is obscene in a country with so much wealth. The
homeless crisis could be over very soon if the
government made it their priority, but this is simply not
happening. Instead, our government prioritise tax cuts
for corporations and high income individuals.

The homeless need our help and we are sick and tired of
waiting while families go homeless and people die in the
streets, so now we are taking action.

We are asking you to support us in housing homeless
people until the government gets its act together and
realises that the most vulnerable in our society are the
priority.

Please help us with funding so we can house homeless
people directly. We need your support. All money
received will go into a campaign that will get people off
the streets, into adequate shelter and end homelessness
in Ireland.

It's time to make the change we want to see.

(This gofundme is run by Oisn Fagan, a member of the
Irish Housing Network finance team. All your generous
donations will be drawn down by the Irish Housing
Network, who are one of the groups helping to run the
Home Sweet Home campaign. All donations will go
directly towards the costs of running the current action,
and any excess will go directly into a campaign that ends
homelessness in Ireland.)
After working with the team at GoFundMe, we've set up
payments to be sent directly to the Irish Housing
Network account. As a member of the IHN finance team,
I'll be overseeing the payments and continue updating
you all on the impact your donations have made. These
donations are not controlled by me, or the Irish Housing
Network. They belong to the whole of the Home Sweet
Home campaign.
This action musn't end here. The celebs can adopt a more
significant role by organising a public meeting of
homeless people including those sleeping on sofas, floors
and other inadequate or unsuitable accommodation.
Enable those folk to come together with those consigned
to the streets. Then take the struggle to the doorsteps of
those responsible for the situation. Homelessness is not
just for Christmas it can often be forever.
BREAKTHROUGH FOR OUR MOST
VULNERABLE
10th January 2017
Home Sweet Home campaign wins significant
improvements for people who are homeless
The Home Sweet Home campaign last week met with
the Minister for Housing and some of his key officials.
Home Sweet Home advised the Minister that the
campaign will be taking a legal challenge arguing that
the 1937 Constitution contains within it a right to
housing.
Home Sweet Home further advised the Minister that
they will be opening a permanent Dublin support,
advice and activist centre assisting people with their
housing information needs.
Home Sweet Home will be a permanent intervention in
the nations housing policy and discussion.
The following is now agreed between Home Sweet
Home and the Minister.
Ireland is currently gripped by a national housing
emergency.
At least two new facilities addressing the
homelessness emergency will be opened. In order to
raise the bar on the agreed minimum standards these
facilities will include residents having their own key to
a place they can call home. This minimum standard
will be achieved with the direct participation of
residents and will provide those who are ready and
want private own key accommodation with full
support services. The Minister confirmed that the
provision of these new facilities will cost in excess of
4 million and Dublin City Council advised us that this
positive development only came about as a direct
result of the Home Sweet Home campaign. As
demanded by Home Sweet Home, these facilities will
include units suitable for single persons and couples
and will promote independent living.
Home Sweet Home will have regular monthly meetings
with Dublin City Council and where necessary other
local authorities to review and assess these, and all
related, housing and homelessness policies.
Hidden homelessness will be identified and if
necessary audited and presented to local authorities
for inclusion in housing lists and policies.
The Minister has guaranteed that there will be no
families in commercial accommodation (hotels or
B&Bs) by 1st July 2017.
The short, medium and long term needs, including
care plans for all current Apollo House residents, will
be met according to their needs.
The rollout of community based homeless services has
been agreed.
From today (Monday January 9th), Home Sweet Home
has agreed not to accept new residents into Apollo
House and will facilitate the transition of existing
residents to suitable accommodation once Dublin City
Council has provided them with the appropriate
support services to meet their short and long-term
needs.
The Minister did not confirm whether the two additional
facilities for homeless people will be NAMA buildings.
Solicitors acting for Home Sweet Home have written to
the Minister for Finance on this matter and are awaiting
a response.
The intervention of Home Sweet Home has created a
greater awareness of the housing and homelessness
emergency that has blighted our country for too long.
This coalition of artists, trade unionists and
activists/volunteers including the Irish Housing Network
is committed to not only ensuring the full delivery of the
above, but also the ultimate elimination of
homelessness in Ireland.
Home Sweet Home has achieved an enormous
amount in a very short period of time. This is down to
the profound outpouring of public support for the
campaign with more than 2,500 people volunteering
their time and services along with donations of food,
clothing, beds and more than 160,000 in funds. All
campaign spending will be published and any excess
money raised will go towards a campaign to end
homelessness in Ireland. Furthermore:
No homeless person died on the streets of Dublin over
the Christmas period despite temperatures dropping to
0 degrees or below on eight occasions. This was the
first objective of Home Sweet Home.
Home Sweet Home facilitated the assessment of 72
individuals by homeless services with 42 people
moving into six-month beds.
Home Sweet Home helped more than 200 people to
access a secure bed through the homeless Freephone
number.
Dublin City Council and the McVerry Trust have told
Home Sweet Home that the extra beds in new hostels
are now six-month beds with 24-hour access as a
result of the campaign.
The Home Sweet Home intervention highlighted the
lack of facilities available for couples who are
homeless.
Dublin City Council will now be providing two new
buildings for people who are homeless which will
replace the one building occupied by Home Sweet
Home.
Finally, Home Sweet Home does not believe that the
governments Rebuilding Ireland plan is sufficient or
ambitious enough to tackle the housing emergency.
Accordingly the campaign will now pursue all of the
remaining demands published in our emergency
housing plan on Thursday, 5th January 2017.
1th Jan Actions Across The Country
10th January 2017

Actions are taking place across the country in solidarity


with Home Sweet Home.
Get in touch and organise one yourself in your own
community!
Dublin
https://www.facebook.com/events/1838567943025314/
Join us as a community as we mark this important
milestone and all the achivements of Apollo House, the
volunteers and all supporters who help make it work.
This is our first step towards ending the homeless
crisis. Everyone that has been involved and has
supported us in this movement, bring your pots and
pans and join us on the streets in ensuring that the
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney delivers on his
promises, and steping up to help those most affected
by the homesless crisis.
Cork
https://www.facebook.com/events/1850898021855395/
The #HomeSweetHome campaign has occupied
Apollo House and provided accomadation for 40
people over Christmas. The courts have ordered that
they vacate the building at noon on the 11th. We will
be gathering outside Connolly Hall to show our support
with Apollo House.
Support the letter to Michael Noonan at:
https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/sign-the-open-letter-use-
nama-to-end-homelessness
Kildare
https://www.facebook.com/events/1169101293186798/
The #HomeSweetHome campaign has occupied
Apollo House and provided accomadation for 40
people over Christmas. The courts have ordered that
they vacate the building at noon on the 11th. We will
be gathering at the town hall in Newbridge at the same
time to show our support.
Belfast
https://www.facebook.com/events/1852838334935321/
We support Apollo House. We believe the actions of
the homeless, activists and volunteers in occupying
and running Apollo House are valuable and necessary
to provide homes for homeless people while also
forcing the government to address the issue of
homelessness and the broader housing emergency.
Apollo House has become a symbol of people power,
a space of dignity and justice and we stand with them
in solidarity.
Wexford
https://www.facebook.com/events/704230556418488/
This gathering is to show solidarity with what the Home
Sweet Home campaign has done to date.
Many Wexford groups have been working for years to
help fighting an uphill battle all the way.
Finally there is hope.
It is for every citizen who cares about not only the
homeless situation in Ireland but every facet of it.
Wexford is not exempt from
evictions/repossessions/sofa surfing/rough
sleeping/emergency accommodation/ridiculous social
housing list.
The country has awoken. Enough is enough.
Show your support and join us.

Questions and answers


about Apollo House
While Rosi Leonard, our volunteer media coordinator has the
@ireland twitter account this week, we think its a good idea to
answer questions weve been asked about Apollo House,
about what goes on here, about the #HomeSweetHome
campaign and about the future past January 11th.
Where possible well ask the people directly responsible for
the relevant part e.g volunteering, support, donations etc
the question and share the answer with you.
Here are the questions weve been asked on Twitter as soon
as we have replies, well update both the twitter account and
this document. You can also add questions below and well
update this note with answers too.
We take each question at face value, but we ask you to
understand (a) we mightnt have the full answer immediately,
but well find it for you, and (b) not all questions can be
answered in public, but where we cant, well endeavour to
explain why. Please note: these arent in any particular order,
yet.
Our response: Apollo House was taken over by NAMA meaning
that its paid for by the people of Ireland. This is the worst
homeless crisis Ireland has experienced. With these empty
buildings, it doesnt make sense not to be using them for
social good, especially as a temporary measure to ensure
people have shelter and dont have to sleep on the streets.
Our response: Conversations have been ongoing regarding the
homeless crisis, circulating between different housing groups
which have been building relationships and formulating ideas
for months. The takeover of Apollo House is a combination of
their work. The Irish Times published a good article covering
this here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/soci

Our response: We have one dorm, which provide beds for 13


male residents. We also have several single private rooms,
private couple rooms and 32 shared bedrooms. Each
resident is placed in a room based on their wants and needs.

People generally do not know each other before being placed


in Apollo, however there is great sense of community and
respect for each others personal space. Regarding the twin
rooms , each resident will be assessed on needs and placed
on both peoples requirements; if someone has complex
needs, theyre not put in dorms or with others.
You can see a video showing inside the male dorm below:
and a video inside one of the couples bedrooms here:

Our response: For the most part, each new resident has been
referred to us through the Irish Housing Network, soup
kitchens or our outreach team, who have been working with
the homeless for a long time; this has allowed them to build
long term relationships and know who would be suitable for
Apollo House.

These groups have really gotten to know the backgrounds of


the homeless, who are also generally forthcoming with their
information.

Our main priority is to check that each person who wants to


come to Apollo House has checked first with existing agencies
and shelters everyone from Dublin City Council Homeless
Services to the Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland,
Merchants Quay, the Peter McVerry Trust and the others
providing services and shelter.

We advocate for people who come to Apollo House all the


time with different services, including the Dublin City Council
Central Placement Service.

When placing new residents, we have a very thorough


process, each person meets a support team who will assess
and identify their needs. The safety and security of our
residents is our main priority, so we have ground rules in
place, as listed below.

At the moment (Friday 6 January) we have 29 residents. We


have on average ten people who come to our gates a night, we
try an aid these to the best of our ability, we ask them
questions such as:

1. Where were you tonight?


2. What do you need right now?
3. Do you need a care pack?
4. Have you tried services like Dublin Simon, Peter McVerry
Trust, Focus Ireland, Merchants Quay?
5. Did you have any luck there?

A lot of people really are not comfortable in hostels as youre


not guaranteed a nights sleep.
This process has lead us to build a 3 page waiting list, which
we also take into consideration when taking in a new resident.
Our response: As outlined above, its a combination of soup
kitchens, Irish Housing Network and our own outreach team,
all of which are manned by people known to members of our
own Support Team and who would have built relationships and
know people on the streets very well.
Our response: The money is being spent of the safety and
security of the residents, which is our main priority.
This includes various aspects of the upkeep of the Apollo
House, such as the heating of the building since the
beginning operation of Apollo, we have had to refill the oil 3
times.
We also use money provided by the public to source
necessities, which cannot be supplied through donations for
example bottled water the water that is running through
Apollo has been lying idle for many years, like this building.
The money donated will also be used on the Home Sweet
Home campaign to end homelessness, more details will be
provided on this in coming days.
However, the most important point to emphasise again, is that
the money donated via the GoFundMe campaign is not being
used on staff or legal expenses; we are all volunteers in
Apollo, as we all believe that everyone deserves a to sleep in a
clean and safe environment, which is the main priority for each
of us. Security services, volunteer expenses and other costs
that would usually be covered by a fund of this type are
donated to us.
Our response: Everyone on the Home Sweet Home campaign
and in Apollo House is a volunteer. Residents who are
available to work have joined maintenance, support, finance
and media teams and help out when and where they can. The
Home Sweet Home campaign has also employed professional
Security personnel for the safety of residents and volunteers.
Our response: We have high standards of safety in Apollo
House. Many residents have said that this is the safest place
theyre have experienced becoming homeless. We also have
set rules and agreements, which residents and volunteer both
respect.
We do have running water and heating, which is covered by
the money which has been donated by the public.
Our response: No. Legally we are obliged by court order to
leave Apollo House at noon on January 11, 2016.
Our response: The Government as a body have been quiet
regarding Apollo house. However, Home Sweet Home is not
affiliated with any political parties which are not allowed on
site, but if welcome any party that wishes to support us. The
President of Ireland has indicated his support.
Our response: Yes, Apollo House is a dry venue. No alcohol or
drugs are allowed on the premises, by either residents or any
of the volunteers.
Our response: Yes, many of our volunteers are Support
Workers, Medics, training as nurses and if theres a need a
resident has that we cant take on, we will refer to a service
who has the resources to help them.

The demands of the @HSHIreland


campaign
We also have some Volunteers who are trained in the HSE
Suicide awareness and Safe Talk and assist programmes. We
request specific qualifications when looking for supports.
Our response: For some of our supports yes, we ask for
documented proof. We are working closely with the Irish
Housing Network and outreach teams who are linked with
support networks who refer Volunteers and a lot of our
Volunteers are coming from different charities both past and
present. There are a wide variety of qualifications everything
from Social Care to medical to counselling all are based on
the needs of the residents in Apollo House.
Our response: Weve answered these above. Again, its very
much based on the individual needs of each person and
whether Apollo House is suitable for them. If a different,
official service is available to them, we strongly recommend
they go there first. We work with different services to ensure
our residents find more suitable accommodation.
Our response: Support is available, based on the sometimes
complex needs of each resident. If we do not have the support
required by a resident available, we will contact alternative
services to find suitable shelter for the person. We dont just
say NO to someone well place them with a suitable
service, travelling with them and getting them set up and
placed if necessary.
Our response: We have no more than 40 residents in Apollo
House at any time this is part of the court order made on
December 21st. Theres a mix of ages and backgrounds our
youngest resident is in their early twenties, our oldest in their
fifties. The majority of our residents as of Friday 6 January are
Irish.
Our response: This was very much based on the requirements
of each individual whether Apollo House would be suitable
for them; their referral from Soup Kitchens and people in
mobile outreach teams who had gotten to know the person;
the assessment of them either by our Support team or the
Peter McVerry Trust team who come in daily. Each resident is
spoken to daily and we are linked with other services that may
be more suitable for each person.

Regarding 11 January this evolves daily based on the


progress of the campaign. At time of writing, we are awaiting
the results of a meeting between the Home Sweet Home
campaign and a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney.
Our response: Yes, in that social workers and social care
professionals are volunteering their time and services here.
Each residents needs are matched with the skills that our
Support Staff can provide.

We are always on the look out for new Support Volunteers


who can add their skills and help our residents. To find out
more or to apply, please send us a message on Facebook.
Our response: Theres a long answer about the best way to
move forward from here (for those in Apollo House and in the
Irish Housing Network) that will emerge in the coming weeks
and months. At the moment its evolving day to day and we
are working with the Agencies that exist to help people
experiencing homelessness to make sure all our residents are
looked after.
The best way to help the homeless in day to day life is
twofold:

1. People experiencing homelessness are, first and foremost,


people and should be treated as such, regardless of gender,
nationality, religious beliefs or non beliefs, ethnicity, sexuality
or any other distinguishing factor. Treat homeless people as
people first, their situation second. Talk to them. Ask them if
they need help and if they do need help, what they need.

2. Help and support the many Charities and Organisations that


work with people experiencing homelessness, including, but
not limited to:

The Peter McVerry Trust


Inner City Helping Homeless
Simon Communities of Ireland
The Dublin Simon Community
Merchants Quay Ireland
SVP Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ireland
Capuchin Soup Kitchen
Depaul Ireland
Sonas Domestic Violence Charity
The Salvation Army, Dublin City Corps
The Salvation Army Ireland Division
COPE Galway
Cuan Mhuire
Crosscare

Donate what you can to them be it clothing, money, non-


perishable food, your time or ideas. Check in with each
organisation and see what they need. They are best positioned
to tell you what people require.

If volunteers can come into Apollo House with their time and
creativity and create what we have here from an abandoned
building, what could you do with other organisations?
Our response: Apollo house was never intended to replace
homeless services and shouldnt have to exist in the first
place. This is a horrible crisis, but the support has been
massive it shows that the people of Ireland want a solution
for this issue and that its not going away by itself. As to what
happens next? That is something we have to start thinking
about as a society
Our response: Apollo House doesnt solicit cash donations
as such, but, including the GoFundMe appeal that was set up
on December 14, each expense money is spent on is
receipted, recorded by our Finance Team and properly
accounted for. The money being raised is for the Home Sweet
Home campaign and all that entails as covered in this Irish
Times article.

We will also be publishing financial accounts.

As covered on Newstalk we are contacting SIPO, the


Standards In Public Office Commission. We are also getting
legal advice around the regulation involved in this and will
have an update in the coming days.

Also, despite the preparation involved in the Home Sweet


Home Campaign, #ApolloHouse is only 22 days old and we
genuinely did not expect the level of support we have
received. We will update people as we go.
Our response: Were very open to talking to anyone who can
help us end homelessness.
Our response: As listed above, if youd like to make a cash
donation to homeless services, please choose one theres a
great list on the Citizens Information website here.
To make a donation to the Irish Housing Network, please see
their website: http://irishhousingnetwork.org/
We do have a good relationship with our local Garda Pearse
Street station is less than 2 minutes walk away, but we also
have in-house Security who work with our Support teams in
keeping our residents and volunteers secure and safe.
We think these are all the questions we have been asked but if
there are more that we havent answered, please let us know!


What does it mean to look after 'our own'?

'Our own' includes everyone who lives on this island. Our


country is made up of diverse and dynamic communities who
live here and work here and call Ireland home. We must
include all these communities when we think about who is
meant by 'our own'.

Scarcity of resources

There is a lack of decent housing, but not because one group


is taking resources from another group. Current housing policy
is to blame for this. Right now, no group is doing well under a
system with a total lack of supports for people who fall
through the cracks--it alienates, disempowers and
institutionalises the most vulnerable in society, regardless of
their ethnic background. The inhumane way families in
emergency accommodation are treated is nearly identical to
the way asylum-seeking families living in Direct Provision are
treated. Landlords discriminate against people who receive
HAP and RAS as well as people based on their race or
ethnicity. The residents of Apollo House, who have nine
different countries of origin and at least 10 different ethnic
backgrounds, have come together because they are all
experiencing homelessness.

And let's be clear; there is no scarcity of resources, there is


only a lack of political will to tackle the housing emergency in
Ireland. As has been shown in Apollo House, the resources
exist, but we must take them back from the government that
holds on to them.

Divide and conquer

While we are fighting each other for the scraps that the
government chooses to make available, we are losing sight of
the fact that the government, not other marginalised groups,
are the ones who have the real power. We are strongest when
we work together to demand that the government allocate
resources and actually works to tackle homelessness and the
wider housing emergency in Ireland. As demonstrated by the
victory at Apollo House, we win when we stand together.

Thanks to IHN members MASI - Movement of Asylum Seekers


in Ireland and Anti Racism Network Ireland for the continued
solidarity in the struggle for decent housing for all people
living on this Island.
Homeowner renting 16 beds
in three rooms for up to
445 each
Young women sharing Dublin house told they have few
rights as owner lives there too
Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 01:00 Updated: Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 13:55
Kitty Holland

A photograph by a former tenant of the house in Portobello in Dublin, in which


up to 16 young women have been living in three bedrooms.

Dublin City Council is investigating the renting out by a


homeowner of 16 bunk beds, in three bedrooms, to
young women for up to 445 each a month.
A screengrab from an advertisement on the Gumtree website for the house in
Portobello in Dublin, in which up to 16 young women have been living in three
bedrooms.
The bunk beds are being let in the Portobello home of
film and radio documentary-maker Eamon McElwee,
who is also living in the house.
He made it sound nice. I thought Id see
how it goes. I paid my deposit in cash
An advertisement for the property on the Gumtree
website offers: Bunk beds . . . for rent in shared
bedrooms in 3-bedroom house with garden in
Downtown.
The bedrooms are all located upstairs and come with
big windows so they receive plenty of light.
The shared area is the open layout kitchen and living
room that comes fully furnished and equipped for shared
living. There is 1 bathroom, 1 ensuite bathroom, and 1
toilet room, the advert says.
A photograph by a former tenant of the house in Portobello in Dublin, in which
up to 16 young women have been living in three bedrooms.
The preferred gender is female.
Assuming 90 per cent occupancy throughout the year,
the bunk beds would bring in more than 6,000 a
month, or more than 72,000 a year.
Although there is clear overcrowding in the house, Mr
McElwee is not breaching any tenancy rights. As he lives
in the house, he is exempt from landlord-tenant
legislation.
A former resident, a young Brazilian woman working as
a carer, who was paying 420 a month for a bunk in a
room with five others, says she was really desperate
when she took a bed in the house last November.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/homeowner-renting-16-beds-
in-three-rooms-for-up-to-445-each-1.2975618
Slum landlordism is alive and well - well done to tenants who have
made a brave decision to speak up about their treatment.
'He threatened to keep our deposits if we didn't
write a letter saying we were happy' - Tenants from
overcrowded 'hell house'
INDEPENDENT.IE

PUBLISHED
08/02/2017
Texts show rent collector ordered them
to write a letter saying they were
'happy'
Claim they were 'made feel like
criminals'
'We asked them to stop bringing more
people but they just put in more
bunk beds'
Claim they were asked to pay two
months' rent when the landlords
learned they would have to vacate the
property
Tenants who were crammed into an
"unauthorised hostel" have claimed that the
man who collected their rent each month
threatened to keep their deposits unless they
hand wrote a letter saying "how much they
loved living in the house."
Texts seen by Independent.ie show how Dillon De Brun,
who collected rent from up to 70 tenants living in a five-
bedroomed house, sent a message to everyone ordering
them to write letters to be used as evidence in court.
The messages read: "Ok so here's what's going to happen.
"I need every tenant to write a handwritten letter for me to
give to the judge of the case about how much they love
living in the house and how ye cant afford to find a house
elsewhere as they [sic] is nowhere as cheap or available!


The tenants were told they wouldn't get their deposits back unless they
sent a video/wrote a letter saying they were 'happy'
"I'm going to go to the judge on Monday and hand him all
these letters and speak to him myself."
Dillon De Brun was employed by Mr Christian Carter (29)
to manage The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely and
collected the rent each month on his behalf.
He used various usernames on Facebook to advertise the
property, including Dyl OReilly.
Undercover recordings by Independent.ie revealed how
tenants had no written leases and Mr De Brun claimed
The Pines was rented to foreign nationals because "[with]
their way of living theyd agree to it a lot more".

The mattresses were removed and remaining tenants were forced to
sleep on the floor
Now the tenants, who were given five days notice to find
alternative accommodation, have spoken out about what it
was really like to live in the house.
"He threatened us about how we wouldn't get our deposits
back unless we made a video or wrote a letter," they
claimed

The bathroom had mould and the drain 'constantly clogged up'
"At the beginning there was very few of us and the house
was like brand new. It wasnt so bad back then. Day by
day, more people arrived. There was 20, then 21, then 22
and eventually almost 50 people in the house," said Laura
(28), originally from Italy.
They spoke of problems with mould, how the heating
always broke down and said there was constant electricity
problems.
"They just tried to put in as many people as possible. Some
people had to pay incredible money for the beds. When
they knew we would have to leave the house, they asked
for two months' rent up front.


The Pines, Lehaunstown, Cabinteely which had up to 70 people living
there at one time Photo: Tony Gavin
"We had to wait until midnight to cook our dinner and
there was over 40 phone chargers and a lot of hair
straighteners so it was really dangerous," she added.
Dillon De Brun declined to comment to the above claims.
'All they cared about was money'
Wilko (30), originally from the Netherlands, described the
landlords as "two-faced."
"It was like they were wearing masks. They pretended they
cared about us, but all they cared about was money."
The tenants were informed that a second kitchen would be
built into the house to accommodate them.
However, instead, the would-be kitchen was transformed
into another bedroom.
"I asked could I pay my rent by standing order and was
told no. Dillon said it was not secure and insisted we pay
cash-in-hand. With 500 in Italy, you could rent a house.
In Ireland, you can rent a bed," said Laura.
Other tenants returned home to their countries due to
being unable to find alternative accommodation after they
were ordered to vacate the property.
Diego (33) from Mexico said "they didnt care about us."
"Nobody tried to take care of people in the house after the
story. Instead of helping us to get out of the problem, we
were made feel like the problem."
"We were made feel like criminals," Laura added.
The tenants expressed disappointment about the "lack of
consideration" when it came to finding them somewhere
else to live.
They claimed Dn Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
"weren't very helpful" when it came to finding alternative
accommodation and were puzzled as to why nobody from
the council sat down to speak with them to explain what
would happen.
"They just came in and took some pictures of the house,"
they claimed.
However, a spokesperson for the council responded:"In
the course of investigations issues concerning
environmental pollution also came into evidence
supporting the view that the premises presented a danger
and health risk to occupants and the local environment.
"The occupants were notified of the proceedings and
ultimately by Order of the Court dated the 2nd February
the second named defendant Christan Carter was directed
to provide alternative accommodation for those persons
remaining in occupation of the premises.
"However, I can confirm that the Housing Department
ensured that emergency accommodation was secured and
made available to all individuals who presented to our
Homeless Services Section. "
'The tenants need to be the ones protected'
Edel McGinley, Director of the Migrants Rights Centre
Ireland (MCRI), has been working with the tenants to help
them find accommodation since they were ordered to
vacate the property.
She is calling for new laws to be implemented to protect
the rights of tenants in situations like this.
"We are very concerned that the council did not take their
rights into consideration when pursuing the landlord for
breaches of planning laws. Rogue landlords need to be
prosecuted and tenants need to be protected in these types
of situations.
"County councils have a duty of care. This is not an
isolated incident and further actions by any council needs
to uphold the rights of the tenant," she added.
Undercover investigation
Independent.ie first reported on the poor living conditions
in The Pines earlier this year.
Following an inspection by the council after our
undercover investigation, the property was deemed to be
an "unauthorised, dangerous hostel."
Mr Christian Carter, who was subletting the property from
the owner Mr Richard Stanley, appeared in court in
relation to the matter.
Both parties were ordered to pay legal costs of 60,000.
However, former tenants have claimed this would only be
"one months rent" for Mr Carter, who rents a number of
other houses across Dublin.
Independent.ie also exposed how Christian, along with his
father Colin Carter, was renting five houses in Clontarf
and Rathmines on behalf of a Mr James 'Jim' Cuddy in a
similar manner.
The number of tenants in these houses was significantly
reduced after Dublin City Council issued fire safety notices
in respect of the properties.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/exclusive-70-tenants-told-to-
praise-overcrowded-hostel-or-lose-deposits-35434501.html

The figures are fiction


Fine Gael are changing the definition of social housing. It's not
housing where the government pays private landlords, and it's not
housing where the costs can rise and rise without any regulation.
"According to the progress report, some 18,300 units of social
housing were provided during 2016. The vast majority of these
(13,719) were in the private rented sector. Some 12,000 were
through the housing assistance payment (HAP), a housing subsidy
that is being introduced across the State to replace rent
supplement. It is available in 28 local authority areas."
Fewer social houses were built last year than in 2015,
making it the worst year for social housing construction
since the 1970s.
Figures published by the Department of Housing show
that some 448 units of housing were built by local
authorities and housing associations in 2016, 28 fewer
than the 476 built in 2015. The 2015 figure had been the
lowest in over 40 years.
The highest annual output was in 1975, when local
authorities built 8,794 units of housing.
The latest figures are contained in the second quarterly
progress report on the Governments Rebuilding
Ireland plan. The plan is made up of five pillars and
was published in July 2016.
Its second pillar, to accelerate social housing, says an
additional 47,000 social homes will be provided through
build, refurbishment and acquisition, up to 2021.
Almost 700 leave hospital for homelessness in Dublin
Another decade before property supply meets
demand
Why even the Government cant count number of new
houses
According to the progress report, some 18,300 units of
social housing were provided during 2016. The vast
majority of these (13,719) were in the private rented
sector. Some 12,000 were through the housing
assistance payment (HAP), a housing subsidy that is
being introduced across the State to replace rent
supplement. It is available in 28 local authority areas.
Although tenants may work while receiving HAP, it has
been criticised because households who move to it from
rent supplement are removed from the housing waiting
list. They can apply to go on a transfer list, but critics
argue households on the transfer list are far less likely to
be housed in a council dwelling than those on a waiting
list.
Long-term leases
In addition, some 1,100 households were housed
through the rental accommodation scheme, where the
local authority enters into a long-term lease with a
private landlord. More than 700 were accommodated
through leasing arrangements with private property
owners.
Local authorities bought 1,813 units, while 2,300 long-
term voids (vacant units) were brought back into use.
The figures drew criticism from Anti-Austerity Alliance
TD Ruth Coppinger, who said promises made by
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to the homeless
were hollow.
There is not much evidence of rebuilding Ireland when
less houses were built under this Minister than the last.
The Minister has absolutely betrayed the over 7,000
homeless people.
Despite all the fanfare, the special Oireachtas
committee on housing and homelessness, and the glossy
document launches, nothing has emerged under this
Government, as their housing philosophy is exactly the
same as the last prioritise the private sector over
public home-building, she said.
However the progress report describes the pipeline of
social housing as very positive.
In 2017 this construction programme will further ramp
up with over 2,000 new local authority homes to be
under construction this year, with further delivery
happening under the rapid-build programme and
turnkey construction projects.
If you are in housing difficulty and dont know where to turn there
are two support groups in Dublin. If you're outisde of Dublin you
can still message us with issues.
Times and details below
North Dublin Bay: Friday morning 10.30am to 12.30noon in St.
Joseph's Community Centre in Coolock Green Castle road
Dublin Central: Friday morning 11am to 1pm in Hardwicke Street
Community Centre, entrance opposite Temple Street Childrens
Hospital.

While Simon Coveney was busy trying to convince everyone in Ireland
that there was no need for interventions like Apollo House this
Christmas, 207 people lost their homes.
How can we end homelessness if we continue to allow people to lose
their homes because of rising rents and evictions?
In Dail, Richard Boyd Barrett was brilliant! Like we all should be, incl our
Left politicians, passionate, shouting, angry incl: Coveney a "total &
abject failure over a year!" 6 years in govt & 7k+ homeless confirmed,
FG's Richard Brutal Disgrace "it's going to take time, barely 6 months
gone, already impacting." Chambers, FF "it will lead to a crisis
deepening." It's an Emergency, Lisa! Homeless girl sometimes at
Harcourt St. Last time she just sat in rain with head down! Told her to get
shelter next time! She was resigned to the fact! This evening she denied
doing drugs. I believe her! Gave her a few bob. Told her to sit up & look
at people, better chance of get s, psychologically. 'It's too cold.'
Unbelievable!
Latest, new Minister for Homelessness, took over from Alan "Duck Face"
Kelly, Simon Coveney Scumbag! He boasts if homeless figure is down a
bit & states mats are available to be lied, somehow slept on, with
strangers around U! Sean O'Rourke, RTE, easy interviews of Coveney &
Noreen O'Sullivan! Election asap! We all got work to do!
Food for thought - This is a screengrab from Private Residetial
Tenancies Board on how much rents have risen in Rochestown,
Cork. Rents are rising all over Ireland through lack of controls and
regulation, pushing people to the brink, so what's so special
about this?
Rochestown, Cork is the same constituency in which Minister for
Housing Simon Coveney is a landlord.
Conflict of interest much?

No wonder. We have so many homeless people on the streets and


family's doing with out food to feed there children. And old people sitting
with no heating. And the land. Lords are getting this much money every
month. Its just greed. Something needs to change to make a change. In
life. And stop. Them getting all this money. Family's are finding it so hard
to. Cope. No wonder there's so many people suffering from depression.

Good morning! Here's some coverage from Spain :)


Is there anyone who'd like to translate this?!
Apollo contra los buitres
La ocupacin de un edificio de oficinas en el centro de Dubln, asesorada por
la PAH, se ha convertido en el primer gran movimiento social de reaccin en
Irlanda desde que estall la crisis hace nueve aos"Aqu, cuando hay
problemas, como
ELDIARIO.ES

Fast and rough.. Apollo House, in Poolbeg St, in the centre of the city
two streets away from the emblematic Trinity College was known as one
of the ugliest buildings in Dublin. Ten floors of granite and glass built in
the seventies and previously offices left vacant for years. The
governments plans were to demolish it and sell the site.
Today Apollo House with its big blue rust stained gates and its name in
golden letters has also been converted into a symbol of something in
Ireland; into the epicentre of the first mass movement in the society
since the economic crisis nine years ago [clearly Right2Water is
unknown in Spain..]
It all started on the 16th of December. For three weeks dozens of
activists from the Irish Housing Network (IHN) and the movement Home
Sweet Home had been planning its occupation. They had been inspired
by the actions of the Plataforma de Afectados contra la Hipoteca (PAH).
[Platform for those Affected by Mortgages]. They had even asked the
PAH for advice.
In 2014, according to Seamus Farrell from the IHN, the PAH organised a
seminar in Dublin to explain how they had been able to mobilise the
public, what tactics to use and what ideas they had in an Irish context.
Since then contact has been frequent and some Irish activists travelled
to Barcelona prior to the occupation of Apollo House in order to find out
more about the Spanish situation.
The idea of the PAHs assemblies inspired us, explains Farrell. Wed
started to do it the previous year and its a major objective from now on.
To extend it across Ireland, to take it to the next level, a more local level
and to connect people, to debate, and to unite the struggle.
The objective of the Apollo House action was to give shelter to dozens of
homeless people that struggle in hostels and the streets. In Ireland there
are currently 7,000 people homeless, 2,500 of them children. The idea
was to take advantage of Xmas to denounce the precarious situation of
the homeless and to force the government into taking action to solve the
problem by offering alternative long term solutions. The organisers
secured the support of artists like director Jim Sheridan, actors Gerry
McCann and John Connors and musician Glen Hansard. The action then
reached an unexpected dimension.
Since then more than 2,500 people have arrived at the doors of Apollo
House to offer their support as volunteers and they have received
170,000 in donations. In total 40 homeless people were residing in the
building, the limit place by the judiciary whilst the eviction order, passed
a few days after the occupation, was in force
Michelo, a Chilean in his 50s with thick hair and a dark beard had been
there for three weeks. Hes been living in Ireland since the middle of the
70s, but in the previous year after losing his job and his home has been
wandering from hostel to hostel. The problem in these places is that
theyre not safe. Theyre places where drugs are sold and consumed he
complains at the door of Apollo House. Inside the building, to which El
Diario has had access he has access to a room, a communal area with TV
and pool table, a kitchen, washing facilities and medical services. Its the
closest thing to a house that hes known in months.
The case of Apollo House isnt just limited to people like Michelo whove
lost their homes, but for the first time its put pressure on Irish peoples
consciences and started a broader debate. The owner of Apollo House is
NAMA, the agency created in 2009 by the government to manage the
toxic assets left by the Irish bank bailout; the equivalent of the Sareb in
Spain it is Irelands bad bank.
During the last two years NAMA, which has become one of the biggest
property companies in the world, has sold 200,000,000,000 in assets
to American Vulture Funds. Today there are 90,000 Irish mortgages held
by these companies. Apollo House has been converted into a symbol,
the first in Ireland against the governments management of the crisis
and against the sale of heritage and assets to foreign investors.

The most interesting thing about the case, even paradoxical, is that it is
9 years since the crisis exploded. Nine years of rescue, foreign
intervention, recession and cuts. And even now the Irish still havent
protested
Saoirse, a seventy odd year old woman, arrives to Apollo House asking
for advice because she has economic problems. She tells of how when
the Troika arrived in Dublin she went to protest at the Dail and there
were only about a dozen people there. Where are the Irish? she asked
herself, today she explains that she feels ashamed by her countrymen
for selling their past, their present and their families.
Some Irish blame the lack of social reaction on the national character. On
pragmatism above all else. Why protest if it does nothing? Others
attribute it to the sense of guilt left by an education and culture thats
fervently Catholic. I think people are ashamed. Ashamed that the
country had to be rescued and ashamed at what had been done. In one
way and another they feel responsible said director Jim Sheridan.
He point to another cause of the lack of protests, which he refers to as
being an exporting country, in this case of people. Here when theres
problems, as there has always been, we dont react; we leave the
country. Before saying goodbye Sheridan asks me Do you think that
people in Spain will be happy to see whats happening here?
Almost a month after the occupation started, on Thursday it reached a
turning point. The building was finally evicted and the residents
transferred to other accommodation. The organisers debated amongst
themselves whether to proceed with the occupation or to end it if an
alternative to the hostels was achieved. Faced with the threat of legal
action they opted to not put the residents in danger.
But for many there remains a deep feeling that Apollo House shouldnt
end at Apollo House and now it will be argued how to take the movement
forwards. Whether to occupy again and to convert it into the symbol of a
larger cause, not limited just to the homeless but to house prices,
abusive rents and vulture funds; or to settle for the partial victory won
here.
The struggle between pragmatism and Irish idealism starts here, a
reaction that failed to germinate for nearly a decade and that no Irish
would dare claim has flowered yet or whether it will flower in the spring.
It will depend on Apollo House, on the effect that this grey building with
the name taken from the gods of Olympus that showed men their sins,
but also how to purify them.


Home Sweet Home Campaigns Disappointment with
Coveneys Undermining of his Commitments
The Home Sweet Home Campaign is growing increasingly
concerned about the governments commitment to honour the
terms of the agreement reached between Minister Simon
Coveney and Home Sweet Home. Recent statements from the
minister, coupled with feedback from Apollo residents who
had recently been placed in substandard accommodation;
have introduced doubt into the proceedings.The agreement
reached yesterday resulting from lengthy negotiations, set out
the terms by which Home Sweet Home and the Department of
Housing would amicably conclude the occupation of Apollo
House, and take serious measures to address the housing
emergency.zEight residents have returned to Apollo House in
the past twenty four hours distressed that the accommodation
offered to them by DCC were completely unsuitable to their
needs. Drugs and alcohol were being used in the facilities
offered, which represents a clear failure to meet the specific
needs of those residents, and constitutes a failure to meet the
terms of the agreement .zAs one former resident of Apollo
stated of the type of accommodation he is currently in:zNo
keys, no food, no washing machine, no wardrobe, people
getting drunk injecting and smoking heroin in rooms, not
possible to sleep due to music and shouting till 4am, phones
getting robbed, vomit in the hallways, needles everywhere,
atmosphere on the verge of explosion of violence, gang
threatening to stomp another resident soon.zThe Ministers
statements undermining the provision of two new buildings
has also raised serious concerns as to the good faith of the
agreements made at the negotiation table. zIt was agreed that
two new buildings, additional to the ones announced by DCC
on their website on November 30 2016; were committed to by
Coveney in the negotiations, and the minimum standards in
Apollo House would be the new benchmark for these two new
additional facilities.zThe Minister for Housing is downplaying
the significant achievement reached by a citizens intervention
in the worst housing crisis the state has ever seen. In doing
so, the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in society
are being ignored.zHome Sweet Home member Tommy Gavin
said: zYesterday we reached an agreement with Coveney and
we intend on holding him to his agreement. However, the
government cannot accept the precedent that has been set by
direct action. They are claiming that all these changes that
have been enforced already existed, contrary to DCC and
Peter McVerry Trust claiming otherwise. Is this what
government negotiations and mutual agreements amount
to? zHome Sweet Home will, as per the agreement, only leave
when the residents needs have been met. The long and short
term needs of the residents as of this evening have not been
met, and only when they have been met will the residents and
Home Sweet Home be leaving Apollo House.
DEMONSTRATION THIS WEDNESDAY IN SOLIDARITY WITH
APOLLO HOUSE. EYRE SQUARE, GALWAY. 4PM.
So the High Court has ordered that the homeless people and the
volunteers helping them vacate Apollo House by midday on
Wednesday. In solidarity with all those supporting Apollo House
and because we have our own significant issues in the West as
well as the fact that not everyone can travel to Dublin, a number
of individuals and groups are proposing a demonstration this
Wednesday in Galway. A number of similar demonstrations will
take place nationwide. The water fountain, Eyre Square at 4pm.
Bring your banners and whistles. The Galway Housing Action
Group will also be hosting a meeting in the House Hotel on
Spanish Parade at 7.30pm that same evening. If you are affected
by the homeless crisis either directly or consciously, or if you have
some advice, knowledge or anything else to offer (like time and
hope for example), please feel free to come along to either event
this Wednesday. The West needs to stand up. Homelessness is
not just an issue in Dublin, it's a nationwide issue.
The event page for the meeting in Galway is below. Get
organised!

A copy of our letter of support to the Occupiers of Apollo House:


A letter from the rural workers organisation to the occupiers of Apollo
house and the homeless people they are helping
Solidarity and best wishes.
Where as we cannot offer you material aid as of yet as we have no
funding and only formed in November in response to growing
dissatisfaction amongst the rural workers and the world wide spread of
rightwing populism, and our Irish membership is concentrated in rural
county Limerick, Roscommon, Kerry and parts of Northern Ireland. We
Just wanted to send you our best wishes and let you know the rural
people stand behind you. We do have a northern member on the ground
with you (Aaron Spiers) but hes acting in his capacity as a member of
your organisation so we wont be taking credit for that, but we would like
to commend him for the utter dedication he has for his fellow man, and
have it known we are incredibly proud of him.
We wish to offer you the utmost support and encouragement especially
so close to your eviction date. One of the central beliefs of our
organisation is in the universal right to adequate housing.
The Irish government and governments around the globe are failing to
provide this most basic of needs at a rate unseen since the Industrial
revolution, and regardless of their speeches and pretending to care
about it, it is quite apparent that they havent one notion of solving the
crisis.
Perfectly illustrated by how they would prefer to demolish the building
than allow you to use it. Its the modern day equivalent of "let them eat
cake!" but i know i am absolutely preaching to the choir.
The central purpose of this letter is to express our appreciation for all
you are doing and encourage you to keep fighting for those who need it
most.
Dont let yourselves be worn down, keep fighting and know you have the
support of thousands across the country, not just us.
You are in the hearts and the minds of the nation.
Inspiring statement from Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland
exposing the true roots of the homeless crisis and the unity
needed to overcome it.
7 January 2017
Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland stand in solidarity with the Home
Sweet Home campaign and the peoples occupation of Apollo house. We
support fully the use of direct action in reclaiming space and resources which
are left to rot, and putting them to use helping the people which our system
has betrayed. Some perceive an opposition between the rights of immigrants
in Ireland and oppressed sections of indigenous Irish, often conveyed in
phrases such as look after our own first and charity begins at home. This
idea could not be further from the truth. Both the housing crisis and our
destructive immigration policy are symptoms of an economic system which
generates profits for a select few by severely compromising the ability of
millions to live a safe, free and dignified life, a life free of precarity. The
response of the Irish government to both of these crises has ranged from
shameful neglect to outright deceit.
Direct Provision and emergency accommodation for homeless people are
presented to us as solutions to these crises. In reality they perpetuate them,
creating new borders in our communities, excluding vulnerable people from
mainstream society and enriching the owners of hotels and hostels at
taxpayer expense. Apollo house is about the liberation of property from a
dying economic system, the liberation of individuals to live with a roof over
their heads, and the liberation of society to reclaim power from a corrupt and
broken establishment. An action which shows so clearly that just solutions
exist is crucial for us all.
In Solidarity, RAMSI.
To: Minister for Finance,
Michael Noonan
Use NAMA to
end
homelessness
HS

Campaign created by
Home Sweet Home

Sign this Open Letter to Michael Noonan,


demanding he use NAMA's resources to help
end the homelessness crisis.
Why is this important?
The collective known as Home Sweet Home (HSH) has written
to the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, and called on him
to take urgent action to tackle the homelessness crisis in the
State. He needs to direct NAMA to use its property portfolio to
take immediate and effective action to assist the homeless. We
are asking members of the public to support HSHs initiative by
signing up to the letter on-line. The government must take action
now.
In summary, the letter states:
1. The building known as Apollo House, in Dublin city centre,
has been occupied by HSH as a last resort to provide safe and
secure accommodation for people sleeping rough on the streets.
2. The receivers acting for NAMA obtained a court injunction to
force all the occupants of Apollo House to vacate it by noon on
11th January 2017.
3. Whilst the receivers contend that there are enough adequate
beds for rough sleepers in Dublin, Fr. Peter McVerry states
otherwise on affidavit, and the most recent government statistics
(released on 30th December 2016) confirm that homelessness
is increasing.
4. Under section 14 of the NAMA Act, the Minister for Finance is
empowered to direct NAMA to make properties under its control
available to contribute to the social and economic development
of the State.
Ireland has obligations under European and international law to
provide social housing and to work towards the elimination of
homelessness.
5. NAMA has ample housing stock currently under its control
which can be made available, through various mechanisms, to
individuals and families who are currently homeless or under
threat of being made homeless.
6. NAMA is planning to build 20,000 homes in the next three
years but only 10% of these will be made available for social
housing despite the worst housing crisis in the history of the
State.
NAMA is focused on returning a profit to the exchequer at some
point in the future as a priority above tacking the homelessness
crisis.
7. The Minister for Finance must act now to compel NAMA to
take immediate and effective steps to combat the homelessness
crisis.
Please support Home Sweet Homes initiative to force the
government to end homelessness in Ireland by signing this
letter.
https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/sign-the-open-letter-use-nama-to-end-
homelessness
Letter to Michael Noonan
Mr. Michael Noonan T.D., Minister for Finance, Department of
Finance, Government Buildings Upper Merrion Street Dublin 2.
3rd January 2017
Re: Apollo House and NAMAs role in contributing to the social
development of the State
Dear Minister Noonan,
We are writing to you on behalf of a collective known as Home
Sweet Home (HSH). HSH comprises various bodies and
individuals established with a simple aim: to end
homelessness in Ireland.
As you will be aware, HSH took possession of Apollo House in
Dublin city centre for the purposes of providing suitable
accommodation to homeless people who would otherwise be
sleeping on the streets.
The Receivers appointed by the National Asset Management
Agency (NAMA) to Apollo House have sought and obtained
an injunction from the High Court directing the occupiers to
vacate the premises by noon on the 11th of January 2017. The
effect of this is that 40 people, housed at Apollo House, will
be rendered homeless and forced to live on the streets.
As part of the Court application, Dublin City Council gave
evidence to the Court that an appropriate amount of
accommodation is available to any person who requires same.
On our behalf, Father Peter McVerry gave evidence that, in
fact, the reality of the situation is very different.
Father McVerry averred to the following, in an affidavit dated
21st December 2016:
I have been informed of Dublin City Councils assertion that
there are sufficient beds available to all the residents of Apollo
House should this Court order its closure. With respect to
Dublin City Council I do not and cannot agree.
I am satisfied that in the absence of Apollo House the
residents will be forced onto the street over Christmas with all
the human misery and suffering that this entails. I understand
that only two nights ago the Simon Community counted over
80 people sleeping on our streets.
C/O 111 The Capel Building Marys Abbey Dublin 7
The Merchants Quay night caf is offered by Dublin City
Council to some people for whom no beds are available. Over
70 people stay there per night sleeping on the floor. Can it
seriously be said that this presents appropriate
accommodation for human beings in our city today? And even
this is not available to many homeless people who are then
offered sleeping bags.
Insofar as accommodation is provided much is provided as
dormitory or shared
accommodation and is unsuitable to a large group of homeless
people including the
following:
Those who are drug free
Those who have experienced abuse as children Young people
leaving care
Those who are particularly vulnerable
In shared accommodation settings, there unfortunately can
be bullying and intimidation, drug use and drug dealing all of
which makes such accommodation unsuitable. You do not
know who you will be sharing with on a night to night basis. I
regularly hear of theft taking place in shared accommodation
where people wake to find their personal belongings, such as
they are, have been stolen.
On the other hand, there is a sense of community established
in Apollo House and people feel safe there. The
accommodation is dry in that alcohol and drugs are forbidden.
People have separate accommodation as opposed to the
dormitory or shared type accommodation offered by Dublin
City Council.
The reason why Apollo House exists is that a bed for the
night is not available to all people who find themselves
homeless. The increase is supply is very welcome. Indeed, the
Apollo House situation has generated an urgency in ensuring
that these new facilities will be open as soon as possible.
The new facilities will however not be sufficient to meet the
demand and the demand grows all the time. 7 new people
become homeless every day. As the facilities being introduced
are all shared accommodation they do not assist many of
those most in need of shelter.
Apollo House is an inadequate response to the problem of
homelessness but it has been forced on those involved
because of our collective failure to provide safe
accommodation for all those who are homeless. In its absence
people who could otherwise have safe and secure
accommodation over the Christmas period will be forced to
sleep on the streets.
Father McVerry speaks as one of the foremost experts and
campaigners for the homeless in this country.
The most recent statistics confirm his assessment. Figures
released by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community
and Local Government on 30th December 2016 show that the
number of homeless people in the State continues to rise. At
least 1,205 families were homeless during the week of 21st to
27th November 2016, with an additional 27 families living in
emergency accommodation compared with October 2016. It is
a crisis situation which is the most pressing social problem
facing the State today. The consequences are devastating.
You will recall the recent death of Paul Gorman, on 29th
November 2016. He was found dead in the trolley bay of
Longwalk Shopping Centre in Dundalk having slept rough
outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. On 8th November 2016,
Louise BuBu Casey was found dead in a derelict building in
Catherine Street, Limerick, where it is believed she took

shelter from the inclement weather. The governments


measures to tackle homelessness are woefully inadequate.
HSH, in Apollo House, has been offering vital support to
homeless people by providing them with safe and supported
accommodation which includes a holistic assessment of their
wider needs. As a consequence of the Apollo House service,
more than 100 homeless people have been allocated
temporary six-month accommodation by the Peter McVerry
Trust. However, as already stated, the homelessness crisis
continues to worsen and it is imperative that the government
now takes urgent action to address it.
As you are aware the National Asset Management Agency Act
2009 (the NAMA Act) sets out the functions of NAMA. One of
those functions is to contribute to the social development of
the State. Under section 14 of the NAMA Act you have the
power to issue a direction to NAMA. The Act makes specific
reference to a direction being issued in relation to NAMAs
function to contribute to the social and economic
development of the State.
Section 14 provides:
(1) The Minister may give a direction in writing to NAMA
concerning the achievement of the purposes of this Act.
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of
subsection (1), the Minister may give directions in relation to
the purposes mentioned in subparagraph (viii) of section 2 (b).
(3) NAMA shall comply with a direction given by the Minister
under this section. (4) As soon as practicable after giving a
direction to NAMA, the Minister
(a) shall cause the direction to be published in Iris Oifigiil, and
(b) shall lay a copy of the direction before each House of the
Oireachtas.
Section 2 provides, as material:
The purposes of this Act are
...
(b) to address the compelling need ...
(viii) to contribute to the social and economic development of
the State.
You are obliged to apply sections 2(b)(viii) and 14 of the
NAMA Act in a manner that is compatible with your obligations
under the Constitution and the European Convention on
Human Rights (the ECHR).
Further, NAMA regards itself as constrained by the European
Union (see p. 105 of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing
and Homelessness report, June 2016). If its conduct involves
the implementation of European Union law then the EU Charter
of Fundamental Rights applies. Article 34.3 of the Charter
provides:
In order to combat social exclusion and poverty, the Union
recognises and respects the right to social and housing
assistance so as to ensure a decent existence for all those
who lack sufficient resources, in accordance with the rules laid
down by Union law and national laws and practices.
The adoption by the UN General Assembly in 1948 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights included the following,
at Article 25(1):
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
health and well-being of himself and of his family, including
food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social
services, and the right to security in the event of
unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or
other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
The State has ratified the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (the ICSECR). Article 11(1) states:
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right
of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and
his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and
to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States
Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of
this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance
of international co-operation based on free consent.
Article 2 of the ICSECR provides:
Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take
steps, individually and through international assistance and
co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the
maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving
progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the
present Covenant by all appropriate means, including
particularly the adoption of legislative measures.
The UN Committee on the ICSECR states the following in its
General Comment Number 4, agreed on 13th December 1991,
at paragraph 7:
In the Committees view, the right to housing should not be
interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it
with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof
over ones head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity.
Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in
security, peace and dignity. This is appropriate for at least two
reasons. In the first place, the right to housing is integrally
linked to other human rights and to the fundamental principles
upon which the Covenant is premised. This the inherent
dignity of the human person from which the rights in the
Covenant are said to derive requires that the term housing
be interpreted so as to take account of a variety of other
considerations, most importantly that the right to housing
should be ensured to all persons irrespective of income or
access to economic resources. Secondly, the reference in
article 11 (1) must
be read as referring not just to housing but to adequate
housing. As both the Commission on Human Settlements and
the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 have stated:
Adequate shelter means ... adequate privacy, adequate
space, adequate security, adequate lighting and ventilation,
adequate basic infrastructure and adequate location with
regard to work and basic facilities - all at a reasonable cost.
Paragraph 10 of the General Comment states inter alia
(underlining added):
Regardless of the state of development of any country, there
are certain steps which must be taken immediately. As
recognized in the Global Strategy for Shelter and in other
international analyses, many of the measures required to
promote the right to housing would only require the abstention
by the Government from certain practices and a commitment
to facilitating self-help by affected groups. To the extent
that any such steps are considered to be beyond the
maximum resources available to a State party, it is appropriate
that a request be made as soon as possible for international
cooperation in accordance with articles 11 (1), 22 and 23 of the
Covenant, and that the Committee be informed thereof.
Whilst the State has not given force to the ICSECR in domestic
law, it may nevertheless inform how our Constitution is
interpreted and applied: see M.X. v. Health Service Executive
[2012] 3 I.R. 254 at paras. 60 to 63. Further, it can inform how
the ECHR is interpreted and applied.
The State has also ratified the European Social Charter of the
Council of Europe. Article 31 of the Charter is entitled The
right to housing and states:
With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to
housing, the Parties undertake to take measures designed:
1.
2.
3.
to promote access to housing of an adequate standard;
to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual
elimination; to make the price of housing accessible to those
without adequate resources.
In respect of evictions, the European Social Charter, with the
ICSECR, obliges contracting states to ensure that they do not
result in households being rendered homeless or vulnerable to
the violation of other human rights. Where those evicted are
unable to provide for themselves, contracting states must take
the maximum appropriate measures allowed by their available
resources to ensure that adequate alternative housing or
resettlement is available. The European Committee on Social
Rights of the Council of Europe has declared that evictions are
subject to a range of human rights standards. States must
take action to prevent categories of vulnerable people from
becoming homeless, in addition to having a housing policy for
all disadvantaged groups of people to ensure access to social
housing. Although national authorities enjoy a wide margin of
appreciation in measures to be taken concerning town
planning, they must strike a balance between the general
interest and peoples fundamental rights, in particular the right
to housing and its corollary of ensuring that
individuals do not become homeless. The criteria for eviction
arising from illegal occupancy must not be unduly wide. The
eviction should be governed by rules of procedure that are
sufficiently protective of the rights of the persons concerned
and should be carried out according to these rules. Legal
protection for persons threatened by eviction must include, in
particular, an obligation to consult the parties affected in order
to find alternative solutions to eviction, and an obligation to fix
a reasonable notice period before eviction. When evictions do
take place, they must be carried out under conditions which
respect the dignity of the persons concerned. The law must
prohibit evictions carried out at night or during the winter
period. When an eviction is justified by the public interest,
authorities must adopt measures to re-house or financially
assist the persons concerned.
If and insofar as NAMA is interpreting section 10 of the NAMA
Act as requiring it to prioritise other matters over that of the
States homelessness crisis, such interpretation is incorrect.
Section 10 provides (underlining added):
(1) NAMAs purposes shall be to contribute to the achievement
of the purposes
specified in section 2 by
(a) the acquisition from participating institutions of such
eligible bank assets as is appropriate,
(b) dealing expeditiously with the assets acquired by it, and
(c) protecting or otherwise enhancing the value of those
assets, in the interests of the State.
(2) So far as possible, NAMA shall, expeditiously and
consistently with the achievement of the purposes specified in
subsection (1), obtain the best achievable financial return for
the State having regard to
(a) the cost to the Exchequer of acquiring bank assets and
dealing with acquired bank assets,
(b) NAMAs cost of capital and other costs, and
(c) any other factor which NAMA considers relevant to the
achievement of its purposes.
Thus, section 10 of the NAMA Act has as its clear and express
purpose the achievement of the purposes set out in section 2
which include address[ing] the compelling need ... to
contribute to the social and economic development of the
State. The compelling need to address the homelessness
crisis falls within NAMAs ambit and it is imperative that you
provide the necessary directions to NAMA to ensure that
adequate measures are taken to end the crisis.
NAMA has the finance, the land and buildings to provide
upwards of 50,000 social/public and affordable housing units
over the next few years which would play a major role in
addressing the housing and homelessness crisis. Indeed,
NAMA, in partnership with local authorities and housing
associations, could end homelessness in 2017. According to
current projections, in 2017 NAMA will build 3,500 housing
units (2,500 are already under construction in the Dublin
area). It is our position that a proportion of these units should
be

used to house all the families who are currently living in


emergency accommodation, such as hotels and B&Bs, in
Dublin. The emergency accommodation is totally unsuited to
their needs and particularly those of children who may suffer
lasting damage as a consequence. NAMA also has 3.4bn in
cash reserves that could be used to finance the building of
affordable housing.
Insofar as NAMA is interpreting its function under the 2009
Act as requiring it to prioritise the maximisation of commercial
return over its social development mandate, in order that it
pay back the NAMA debt as soon as possible (current
projections are 2018 and 2020), this is deeply damaging to the
social fabric of the State. Under its current approach, NAMA is
operating as a speculative property developer with only two
years left in which to trade. Perversely, whilst it might appear
that it is maximising the commercial return to the State, it is in
fact playing a major role in worsening the housing crisis and
thus adding to the economic and social costs which the State
has to bear in dealing with that crisis. NAMA has sold off
loans, land and property to foreign vulture funds and real
estate investors who have evicted tenants and raised rents to
unaffordable levels. Furthermore, the sale of development
land by NAMA to date to entities which have not built on the
land but have hoarded it, waiting for and contributing to the
rise of housing prices, is worsening the housing crisis. NAMA
reports that, since 2014, it has facilitated the sale of sites with
a potential capacity to deliver up to 20,000 housing units.
However, just 1,100 (5 per cent) units have been built or are
under construction. This has meant rising prices and the
failure to provide affordable housing, resulting in very
significant costs to the State - for example, in increased
spending on homeless accommodation and private rental
schemes such as RAS, HAP etc. The problem with NAMAs
current approach is that there is no guarantee that the sale of
its land and assets will result in the provision of affordable
housing (or other uses). In all likelihood in the current market,
financiers are purchasing land and assets in order to hoard
them and accrue further value before resale in future years
rather than for the purpose of redevelopment.
It is imperative, therefore, that you direct NAMA to prioritise
its social mandate (as required by section 2 of the NAMA Act)
over its commercial maximisation mandate in all its operations.
This social mandate must include the prioritisation of the
delivery of social/public and affordable housing within a
specific time period.
The Oireachtas Housing and Homelessness Committee
recognised the problem of NAMAs approach in its report of
June 2016. The Committee recommended that the NAMA Act
be amended in order to allow NAMA to be an agent for the
provision of social and affordable housing. However, it is our
position, for the reasons set out above, that amendment is not
required. Under the Act as it exists, the Minister can give the
necessary directions to NAMA.
NAMA should also be directed to sell its property related
assets in Ireland (loans relating to land and residential
property and holdings of property and land) to local
authorities, housing co-operatives, community land and
housing trusts, and housing associations, rather than to
vulture funds and REITs. The sales should also be unbundled
to make them smaller and thus more accessible for purchase
by local authorities, housing co-operatives and AHBs. For
example, Housing Associations can purchase these (by
lending from the Housing Finance Agency) at a rate that
provides a commercial return to NAMA.
NAMA should use the 6,000 residential units currently in its
possession to house homeless people and to remove people
from housing waiting lists as these units become vacant.
There should also be an independent and urgent review of
NAMA, and specifically all of the land, vacant office stock, and
buildings which it holds, in order to examine all potential
measures by which it could address the housing and
homelessness crisis.
NAMA is planning to build (finance and develop) 20,000
houses by 2020 (90 per cent in the greater Dublin area).
However, the only legal obligation on NAMA is to provide 10
per cent of these units for social housing. Furthermore, while
NAMA states that these units will be starter homes, at market
rates they will be out of reach for many first-time buyers. In
2017, 3,500 units are expected to be built. As stated above, a
sufficient proportion of these units should be used to house all
families who are currently in emergency accommodation in
Dublin in 2017. Overall, it should be ensured that the 20,000
houses, which are to be built, are affordable - a mix of public
rental, co-operative, affordable ownership with at least 50 per
cent as social/public housing.
A further issue is the use of NAMAs cash reserves and the
paying back of its debt (toxic developer loans etc.) which
NAMA took on from the banks. NAMA paid the banks 31
billion for loans originally worth 74 billion but which were
valued at just 25 billion when bought by NAMA. Over 400
NAMA debtors have effectively benefitted from an 8.9 billion
write-off of debt by NAMA. There are major issues of injustice
and lack of value for money for the taxpayer here. But, putting
that to one side, NAMA has 3.4 billion in cash reserves.
There is no requirement in the NAMA Act for NAMA to ensure
that all debt is repaid within a defined time frame. The 2018
and 2020 timeframes are arbitrarily set by NAMA and you, as
the Minister for Finance. The Oireachtas Housing and
Homelessness Committee recommended that: NAMA should
use its cash reserves to tackle the housing and homelessness
crisis. NAMA can fulfil its commercial mandate and pay down
the debt albeit over a longer time frame through the
development of affordable housing schemes, using its cash
reserves and ability to raise low interest finance to fund
development. NAMA has already paid off 81 per cent of its
debt of 30 billion (25 billion), so that only 5 billion remains
to be repaid. This can be staged over a longer time frame than
that currently fixed. For example, NAMA could fund through its
cash reserves and lending to local authorities and housing
associations the building upwards of 50,000 affordable (i.e.
for a broad range of income groups via social rental, cost
rental, public and affordable purchase) housing units in
coming years using NAMA and other state land (the 50,000
figure is based on 20,000 units on NAMA land and using
NAMAs cash reserves and other assets at a cost of 500
million per 10,000 units of affordable housing and 1 billion
per 6,000 public/social units). This would save the State a
substantial proportion of the 100 million annual expenditure
on emergency accommodation, and hundreds of millions more
euro on various social housing schemes in the private rental
sector. So if NAMA, for example, provided 20,000 social and
affordable units, it could save the State at least 1 billion over
five years, and at least 2 billion over ten years (this would
increase if 50,000 units were built), which equates to the
return NAMA is supposed to provide to the taxpayer anyway.
Furthermore, this approach would provide a longer term rental
income stream and housing assets to the State,
and would address the humanitarian disaster of
homelessness and the social and economic costs of the wider
housing crisis. NAMA has already developed a model for doing
this using its NARPS special purpose vehicle, and is building
some social and affordable housing across the country,
although at very low numbers. The potential to address the
housing crisis is readily apparent.
It is incumbent on you, given that homelessness is the most
pressing social need facing the State today, to make a
direction to NAMA pursuant to the express powers given to
you by the Oireachtas under sections 2 and 14 of the NAMA
Act, to ensure that part of the large bank of potential housing
stock under the control of NAMA is used to end the
homelessness crisis that currently exists. The manner in which
NAMA has dealt, and is dealing, with its property portfolio
(including loans, land and property) has been the subject of
much public debate. The portfolio is held by NAMA on behalf
of the people of Ireland, and now is the time to ensure that
part of it is used to ameliorate the needs of the most
vulnerable in our society. You have that power and it is a
matter of urgency that you exercise it without further delay.
Under section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality
Commission Act 2014, NAMA is required to have regard to
the need to ... protect the human rights of ... the persons to
whom it provides services. In accordance with this obligation,
NAMA must set out, in a manner that is accessible to the
public in its strategic plan, an assessment of the human rights
and equality issues it believes to be relevant to its functions
and purpose, and the policies, plans and actions in place, or
proposed to be put in place, to address those issues. It is now
a matter of urgency that NAMA recognises its obligations to
the homeless in this State and set out its strategy to
ameliorate the homelessness crisis.
We the undersigned hereby call upon you pursuant to your
powers under sections 2 and 14 of the NAMA Act to issue the
following direction(s) to NAMA as part of its role in
contributing to the social development of the State to be
issued on or before noon on the 11th of January 2017:
To prioritise its social mandate (as required by section
2(b)(viii) of the NAMA Act) over its commercial maximisation
mandate in all its operations. This social mandate must include
the prioritisation of the delivery of social/public and affordable
housing within a specific time period.
To investigate which properties (and loans, land, and other
assets with future development potential) under NAMA control
could be used for the purposes of eliminating the
homelessness crisis and thereafter to provide such suitable
properties necessary for that purpose and to take such steps
as are required, in conjunction with appropriate homeless
organisations, for the provision of such accommodation at
those properties for such period as is necessary to ensure the
continued elimination of homelessness in the State.
To make available Apollo House, or alternative property, for
the provision of immediate sheltered accommodation to
homeless persons and to take such steps as are
necessary, in conjunction with appropriate homeless
organisations, for the provision of such accommodation at
such property for a period of not less than 6 months.
Signed:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mqc2id45recanj8/Letter%20to%20Michael%20N
oonan.pdf?dl=0

Pledge a Donation for the


Home Sweet Home Legal
Defence Fund
Ireland is unique in dealing with homelessness in that we have nama; a
state owned property company that owns more than enough property to
house our entire 6700 homeless people.
The Nama act makes specific provision for the Minister for Finance to
instruct Nama to put any property to whatever use he decrees.
In other words, the minister has the power to stroke out homelessness
with the stroke of a pen.
That this has not occurred to date is wrong. In the area of homelessness,
we have crossed a threshold of indecency. Home Sweet Home intend to
lobby the minister to take the necessary steps under the NAMA act to end
homelessness and if necessary, to seek the assistance of the courts.
Accordingly, we are establishing a pledge based defense fund, where you
the public in Ireland and beyond, can pledge the necessary funds to win
this case if necessary.
We call on the minister for finance to now insist that NAMA designate
enough of our state owned property in NAMA for appropriate residential
use to end homelessness. If the minister refuses to act towards this end,
we intend to initiate legal proceedings.
+please note any money pledged will not be spent on our own legal costs.
Our legal team are all working pro-bono
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScVDqlqdRfSiHWzFLzvr1PCU8Xq
wlXbBLu-xHV6AJveYmCdwg/viewform
21 December 2016
Update:
Court rules that Apollo residents have until the 11th of January
before an injunction can be exercised.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has
helped over the past six days. Your donations, your time, and
your words of support help make it possible for us to keep
offering safe and secure accommodation for the residents of
Apollo House.
As homeless campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry has said again and
again - there are not enough beds. There are not enough
homes. We have a duty of care to those who live in Apollo
House. We will keep operating as normal, we will continue to
put residents first, and we will continue to keep people safe.
This morning Sam McGuinness of Dublin Simon Community
said that there were 88 people sleeping on the streets, and
that a further 70 had to sleep on the floor of Merchants Quay
cafe. We have a legitimate and deep concern over the
Governments insistence that there are enough beds.
The residents of Apollo house have made a home there. They
sleep in the same bed every night. They can leave their
belongings somewhere safe. They know that it is their bed, it
is their home and that they have the power to make choices
about what happens there. There are skilled, experienced
volunteers on hand to support them when needed. They can
plan for Christmas day, and know that theyll be warm, will
have a good meal and will be able to share it with people that
they have come to know and trust. This is not something the
State, or NAMA for that matter, is in a position to offer them.
If the government would like to offer solutions, we would ask
that they ensure that there are enough secure homes for
people - that all of the state assets, including those owned by
NAMA are used as a priority to create stable, secure and
empowering places for people to make a home in.
Until then, we will stay. A huge thank you from the bottom of
our hearts to everyone who has helped and donated. Weve
begun to redistribute donations to other homeless
accommodation centres in the area. Together we can help end
this awful crisis, and ensure a guaranteed right to housing for
all.

The power of people. Two weeks ago government were releasing


crumbs of housing policy, allowing landlords to raise rents and
claiming this was tenants protection, encouraging mass
privatisation with not a nod towards the resources already in our
hands. Ordinary people werent listened to and the most
vulnerable people on our streets were expected to ring a
freephone over 100 times a day to be in with a chance of mat on a
dormitory floor.
Now we are at a point where 100's of volunteers and the goodwill
of 100,000's of ordinary people all over the country are serving
christmas dinner in a building at the heart of our capital city taken
over and opened up to take care of people sleeping rough. People
are being offered longer term beds and being treated with
respect. The State is no longer able to say A nightly mat on the
floor is a dignified way to live. Ordinary people are making this
happen. Apollo house is a community and we are determined to
put people first, to take care of each other, to raise expectations
and decide our own futures.
Much love and care to all those involved and everyone who has
borne the brunt of austerity these past years X
Organizing against
the Irish housing
emergency
February 20, 2017
The occupation of Apollo House in Dublin
was the largest direct action in Ireland in
recent years, but it did not materialize out of
nowhere.
On December 16, 2016 media reporters and
cameramen jostled each outside the carpark of
Apollo House, a nine-storey city center office
building in Dublin that had been lying vacant for
over a year. The journalists were there to report on
a public intervention into the ongoing
homelessness emergency in the city, in which a
campaign group called Home Sweet Home, led by
well-known celebrities and musicians Glen
Hansard and Damien Dempsey, occupied the
empty building and opened it as a hostel for the
citys homeless.
In the face of a housing crisis that has been
intensifying ever since the economic crash in 2008,
visible rough sleeping on the citys streets, rising
homelessness statistics, soaring rent, and the
large-scale purchase of property and mortgage
loan-books by predatory foreign vulture funds, this
collection of activists occupied the building, which
is controlled by NAMA, the government-owned
asset management agency set up at the height of
the crisis to swallow the toxic loans incurred by
the nations property developers and speculators.
Over three-and-a-half weeks during the coldest
time of the year, Apollo House provided beds for
over 90 homeless people, in a welcoming and safe
environment that was open 24 hours a day and
where they could come and go as they pleased. In
contrast to the previous month, no homeless
people lost their lives in Ireland while the
occupation was going on. The campaign received
4,000 applications from people who wanted to
help, and collected over 160,000 on the campaign
crowdfunding page, as well as receiving countless
personal testimonies from people whose own lives
had been affected by the ongoing crisis young
families forced to move back into their parents
homes with their children, or sleeping in their cars.
Above all, the Apollo House occupation generated
an unprecedented amount of media attention on
the homelessness and housing emergency in the
face of government inaction, and forced Simon
Coveney, the Minister of Housing, to the
negotiating table to try to get the activists to leave
peacefully.
ORGANIZING A NETWORK
But though it might have appeared spontaneous,
this was a well-planned and well-organized
campaign. The various actors were able to move
fast when the opportunity presented itself only
because the networks were already in place.
Organizing is a word thrown about a lot by the
left, as the essential step in the creation of
powerful movements that can effect change, but
often what organizing actually involves can be
harder to pinpoint.
Examining how the Home Sweet Home campaign
was built can help us get a clearer understanding
of how strong social movements are built, and how
the successes of the campaign can be emulated in
other cities and towns in Ireland, or indeed around
the world. A quick glance at the organizing work
that went into Home Sweet Home shows us that it
was following a long tradition of organizing
grassroots movements of civil disobedience and
direct action, such as that of the American Civil
Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Although Home Sweet Home was a new campaign,
the organizations that made it up were not. It was
an alliance of the artists and celebrities, who gave
the occupation a massive public profile; the
militant Unite trade union; and the Irish Housing
Network, a decentralized and grassroots network
of housing action groups located throughout the
island of Ireland that has been agitating on behalf
of people affected by the housing crisis for several
years.
The occupation of Apollo House was not the first
use of direct action by the Irish Housing Network:
in 2015 they squatted another vacant building
(this one owned by Dublin City Council) and
opened it as a hostel for the homeless the Bolt
Hostel. They have been involved in organizing
resistance to evictions, such as the eviction of
homeless families from emergency
accommodation on Mountjoy Square in February
2016. So the occupation of Apollo House did not
come out the blue, but grew out of years of
experience of similar occupations and resistance.
The main difference this time around was the huge
amount of publicity generated as a result of the
public support of a few well-known figures.
A BROAD COALITION
The very structure of the Irish Housing Network
also reminds us of older social movements. Like
the SCLC and the SNCC in the American South in
the 1950s and 1960s, it is not a single, centralized
organization, but rather, as its name suggests, a
network of affiliated housing action groups from
throughout Ireland, grassroots groups that defend
the rights of tenants and homeowners in the areas
they operate in. The unification of diverse actors in
a broad campaign was another tactic reminiscent
of previous successful movements.
The filmmakers, musicians and other celebrities
played a vital role in the campaign, bringing it very
quickly to the public eye, and adding by way of
their profile to the popularity and perceived
legitimacy of the occupation. Among the Irish
household names associated with the campaign
were musicians Glen Hansard (who starred in the
film Once), folk-singer Christy Moore, dubliner
Damien Dempsey, and filmmakers Terence
McKenna and Jim Sheridan.
Another group whose involvement was crucial
were the up to 200 volunteers who came in to
Apollo House to help with the running of the
hostel, many of them ordinary citizens who were
motivated by the social media campaign to try to
help in whatever way they could. Finally, Home
Sweet Home had from the beginning strong
involvement and input from people directly
experiencing homelessness.
The demands and concerns of the residents of
Apollo House were the primary focus of the
campaign during the running of the hostel and in
the negotiations with the government. The
decision to leave Apollo House at the end of the
occupation was a decision reached by the residents
and supported by all the staff, whose concern was
primarily for their safety, and not for their utility
as pawns in a confrontation with forces of the
state.
An effective and well-organized division of labor
among the volunteer staff was central to the
functioning of Apollo House as a homeless shelter.
There was a sixty-strong security team, a social
care team working directly with the residents, as
well as kitchen, cleaning and maintenance teams.
On the seventh floor, the administration, finance,
legal, outreach and media teams had their offices,
including professional lawyers, journalists and
social media strategists who gave their time to the
project. Though residents were kept at the centre
of decision-making, staff were clearly
differentiated from service users by hi-viz vests.
The media team played a key role in coordinating
the message that went out to the press and on
social media as the glare of public interest fixed
itself on the campaign.
The campaign focused on both short and long-term
demands, from demanding that the immediate
needs of residents of Apollo House for secure, safe,
long-term accommodation be met, to calling for the
basic Human Right to Housing be enshrined in the
constitution (Ireland opted out of Article 31, which
acknowledges the Human Right to Housing, when
it ratified the European Social Charter).
Representatives of the trade union Unite,
experienced at negotiation, played an important
part in talks with the government where these
demands were articulated.
REPUBLICAN TRADITION
Home Sweet Home was, however, also strongly
rooted in the tradition of Irish left-activism. Many
of the activists come from the Irish republican
tradition, a tradition that has been central to
almost all left-wing activism from the creation of
the state. The Irish Housing Network is a 32-
county network. Its spiritual precursor, the Dublin
Housing Action Committee, which agitated in the
1960s for an end to the housing crisis that was
plaguing the city then too, was formed by left-
republican elements such as Mairn de Burca, a
Sinn Fin activist linked to the socialist wing of the
republican movement, which would later split to
become Official Sinn Fin.
The key element of the success of the movement
was the willingness of all involved to operate
outside of formal legality. This was the biggest act
of civil disobedience and direct action in Ireland in
recent memory, and yet it was enormously popular
the general public realizing that if the
government was not going to act, to turn the huge
number of empty buildings in its control through
NAMA to use, then it was up to the ordinary people
to do something.
Nonetheless, the forces of the state and law-and-
order were quick to condemn the action as illegal.
Mazars, the receivers appointed by NAMA for
Apollo House, claimed that their immediate
priority and concern has been the health and
safety of the homeless people seeking shelter
there, while at the same time seeking a High Court
order to have the homeless residents thrown out
on the street. The High Court ruled against the
occupiers, but with an eye to the optics of the
situation put a stay on the injunction until after
Christmas, allowing the hostel to remain open until
January 11.
When an extension was sought in January,
however, Mr Justice Gilligan, the conservative High
Court judge in charge of the case, claimed that
homelessness was not an issue for the courts,
saying that if this had been allowed to drag on it
could be interpreted that the attitude of the courts
was to facilitate people to occupy other properties
and that the court would take a benevolent view,
that would lead to an intolerable situation in a
democratic state, so I am not going to get involved
in an argument as to whether or not Dublin City
Council have provided suitable accommodation.
Once again, the Irish state had privileged private
property over the basic right of people to safe and
secure accommodation.
This attitude is reminiscent of that of Minister for
Housing Simon Coveney, who said that to occupy
a building and try and put supports together in an
ad hoc way is not the way to deal with this, and
that there is an emergency bed for everyone who
wants one. The emergency beds he was referring
to were not like the beds in Apollo House that were
accessible 24 hours a day, and were kept for each
resident. Instead homeless people using these
official emergency services are forced out on the
street in the morning and have to ring a homeless
helpline to look for a new bed each night.
Furthermore, many of the beds the minister was
referring to were not private beds suitable for
couples, or for people who dont take drugs or are
attempting to recover from drug addiction. One
resident who was offered such a bed came back to
Apollo House with a story of blood on the walls
and the mattress and syringes on the floor. In
contrast, Apollo House was a dry and safe
environment.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the increasingly
radical turn he took towards the end of his life,
wrote a Letter from a Birmingham Jail, in which he
addressed liberal moderates who disapproved of
the movements tactic of civil disobedience and
nonviolent direct action: You deplore the
demonstrations taking place But your statement,
I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern
for the conditions that brought about the
demonstrations.
He could just as easily have been speaking to
people such as Irish Times columnist Kathy
Sheridan, who derided the occupation as an
immature stunt, or failed Fine Gael candidate
William Whittle who demonstrated his compassion
for vulnerable by calling for services to be cut off
and the occupiers frozen out and claimed the
activists were an absolute disgrace trespassing on
state property.
Today, direct action movements committed to
using civil disobedience as a tactic in the struggle,
such as the Home Sweet Home campaign in Ireland
or the resistance in Standing Rock that forced the
Obama administration to suspend the Dakota
Access Pipeline (since restarted by Trump), are
timely reminders that we need not wait for elites
to condescend to make the necessary changes, and
that ordinary people have the power to play a role
in the political sphere and effect change in the
world.
However, as an analysis of the Home Sweet Home
campaign indicates, strong social movements such
as this do not materialize out of thin air. Instead,
they are the results of the slow, painstaking work
of organizing and movement-building, and the
construction of allegiances between networks of
preexisting groups with similar goals and
aspirations.
A Battle Fought Before: Looking at the Dublin Housing
Action Committee.
December 20, 2016 by Donal
This article was first published in Rabble magazine. Given the on-
going occupation of Apollo House by activists, it seems right to post
it here. You can donate to Home Sweet Home by clicking here.

Apollo House, 17 December 2016.


Apollo House, an unpopular architectural relic of the 1960s, has
been closed for several years now. At the time of its construction, it
was just one part of what historian Erika Hanna has called a matrix
of speculative office blocks, which dominated the skyline and
reshaped the landscape of the city. Both it and the neighbouring
Hawkins House have been earmarked for demolition, but in recent
days the occupation of the building by housing activists has grabbed
national and international attention.
The decade when Apollo House was constructed witnessed very real
agitation on the issue of housing in Dublin, with the establishment
of the Dublin Housing Action Committee and similar organisations in
other Irish cities. Many of the key players involved in this
movement were important figures in revolutionary political circles at
the time, and the housing campaigns of the 1960s utilised direct
action tactics which often succeeded in grabbing the headlines and
the attention of authorities. Just today, a letter appeared in The
Irish Times from Mrn de Burca of the DHAC, expressing her
support to the occupiers:
As a founding member of the old Dublin Housing Action Committee,
I applaud the actions of the Home Sweet Home group and others
who have taken over Apollo House for the homeless. I am sure that
they know quite well, as we did in the 1960s, that this is not a long-
term solution but in the short-term it puts a roof over the heads of
families. There is absolutely no reason why support is an either-or
proposition. It is possible to support the short-term option while
fighting fiercely for the basic right of citizens to a permanent secure
home. In an era when it seems that only self-interest will bring
people out on the streets in protest, it is heartening to see that
there are still some who look beyond the cost to themselves and
will fight for right and justice for those less privileged.
Masthead of DHAC newsletter (Irish Left Archive, Cedar Lounge
Revolution)
.By the early 1960s, despite some substantial suburban
construction projects in the decades prior such as those in Cabra
and Ballyfermot, a significant number of people in inner-city Dublin
were still living in outdated and dangerous tenement
accommodation. Two tenements collapsed within weeks of one
another in June 1963, with two elderly Dubliners and two
schoolchildren losing their lives. Images of a collapsed tenement on
Bolton Street shocked the public on June 2nd, and by the end of the
month the media were reporting that since the disaster 156 houses
have been evacuated because they were in a dangerous condition.
This has necessitated the rehousing of 520 families.
Families were housed in the old living quarters of Dublin Fire
Brigade stations or moved temporarily into suburban Dublin, while
the city even considered utilising prefabs to deal with the crisis. By
no means were such horrors confined to Dublin, and indeed north of
the border housing rights and access to a decent standard of
accommodation for all was a central motivating issue for the Civil
Rights movement there.
In May 1967, the Dublin Housing Action Committee was born, the
brainchild of left-republican activists, and as Tara Keenan-Thomson
has written in her study of women in Irish street politics
historically, the main personalities in the group were Mirn de
Burca, a young socialist () who had returned to Sinn Fin after it
had shown signs of contemplating social action, and Prionsias de
Rossa, another young republican socialist. In addition to this left-
republican element, the movement also drew in members from a
wide spectrum of leftist parties and community groups. Among its
key demands were the repair of dwellings by Dublin Corporation
where landlords refuse to do so and the immediate declaration of
a housing emergency in the city.

Direct militant action against evictions ensured plenty of ink went


on covering the DHAC in the national press, and on January 16th
1968 The Irish Times were reporting that scuffles at the scene of
two evictions in Dublin yesterday between a large force of Garda
and members of the Dublin Housing Action Committee resulted in
23 arrests. For authorities, there was a real fear that the DHAC
could serve as a recruitment tool for republicans, moving from the
national question to social ones. The DHAC also provided support to
those squatting housing in the city, for example in the summer of
1969 when three families occupied a Georgian home at Hume
Street near Stephens Green. The remnants of the eighteenth
century city of the rich, Georgian homes formed an unusual setting
for 1960s class struggle.
In Cork, housing action campaigners occupied the City Hall in
protest against poor housing for the working class in the city, while
squatting tactics were also utilised by campaigners in Derry, in a
decade of real campaigning in the northern city. For the DHAC,
squatting was justified and actively encouraged. The first edition of
the DHAC newsletter made the views of the campaign clear:

We say that the Housing problem in Dublin wouldnt be half as bad


if the thousands of families with a housing problem organised
themselves and squatted in some of the empty, surplus property
owned by foreign and native parasitesthere is more than adequate
accommodation lying empty at this moment while thousands of
families desperately need shelter.
The arrest of the Secretary of the Dublin group, Dennis Dennehy,
led to a high-profile demonstration at the Mansion House in January
of 1969. Dennehy, a member of the Irish Communist Organisation,
made the decision to go on hunger strike at Mountjoy Prison. An
event organised by the state to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the
sitting of Dil ireann at the Mansion House was interrupted by Joe
Clarke, a veteran republican who had taken part in the Easter Rising
and who supported the Dublin Housing Action Committee, wishing
to draw attention to Dennehys actions. During Dennehys
imprisonment Garda clashed with a very sizable number of
protesters on OConnell Bridge, something the Irish Independent
labelled (perhaps over-enthusiastically!) the Battle of OConnell
Bridge.

Irish Press coverage of DHAC squatting (14 July 1969)


What brought about the demise of the DHAC and similar
campaigns? Tom Murray has noted that by the early 1970s Dublin
Corporations crowbar brigades were ejecting people daily without
recourse to the law. These evictions came as the DHAC was
fracturing under the pressures of its own internal politics.
Certainly, for many activists within the movement who had come
from the republican-left, the eruption of violence in the north played
no small role in the decline in housing related activism.
The DHAC remains one of the most interesting direct action
campaign groups in the modern history of the Irish capital. From
picketing the offices of property developers, to squatting vacant
properties in the heart of the city, they ensured that the housing
crisis was front and centre in the mainstream press. The presence
of so many reporters outside Apollo House suggests the same
tactics still work.
UN Human Rights to Housing
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS21_rev_1_Housing_en.pdf

13 families are fighting eviction


from emergency
accommodation in Dublin
today
The families have been living in emergency accommodation on
Mountjoy Street in north Dublin.
Feb 26th 2016,

A DEMONSTRATION IS taking place on Mountjoy Street on


Dublins northside this morning in protest at the proposed
eviction of 13 families who have been living in emergency
accommodation there.
The families were last week served with a notice stating that
they were to be evicted today, election day, on 18 February.
The stated reason for the eviction is an increase in the
propertys rent which Dublin City Council (DCC) couldnt
match.

Source: Facebook
The protest is taking place outside the property at 54-55
Mountjoy Street from 11am today.
The Irish Housing Network have issued the following
demands on foot of the demonstration:
That the families be allowed to stay in the
accommodation, or be provided with alternative
accommodation with full tenants rights
That DCC engage with the campaign as a whole
rather than the families individually
As the residents are in emergency accommodation they do
not receive protection under tenants rights law.
Source: Facebook
DCC Response
A spokesperson for DCC told TheJournal.ie that the citys
Central Placement Service (CPS) has spent the last two
weeks seeking to find suitable alternative accommodation
for the households who are affected by this situation.
Alternative offers of accommodation have been made to all
households, they said.
A number of households have moved into accommodation,
with a minimum number in further discussions with the
local authority on accommodation offers made.
Mountjoy Street, Dublin
Source: Google Maps
DCC has said it is not in a position to comment about its
contractual arrangement with the Mountjoy Street landlord.
125 newly homeless families presented themselves to the
citys homeless executive in January.
769 families were in homeless services in Dublin in the last
week of January.
http://www.thejournal.ie/eviction-protest-mountjoy-street-2625695-Feb2016/

NAMA: IN WHOSE
INTEREST?
JANUARY 8, 2012
When NAMA was unveiled the then-government claimed
it would actually make more than one billion Euros in
profit. Already a loss of over 700 million has been
revealed for 2010 and it is set to lose much more. So
why does this agency exist asks Conor McCabe.

The creation of the National Assets Management Agency in
2009 was an exercise in power. It was done in the face of
vocal opposition, and its role in merging bank debt with
sovereign debt played no small part in the arrival of the
ECB/IMF in November 2010 and the decimation of Fianna
Fil as a political force in Ireland. The new governments
maintenance of NAMA underlines the assertion that the
present economic crisis has revealed a deeper truth, that
Ireland harbours more powerful forces than Fianna Fil.
These economic and social forces have greatly undermined
the real economy in Ireland, and have at present, through
the bank guarantee and NAMA, a drowning mans grip on
the future direction of this country.
On 18 February 2009 the National Treasury Management
Agency appointed the economist Dr. Peter Bacon as a special
advisor reporting directly to the Minister for Finance, Brian
Lenihan. Bacon was given a three-month contract and
according to the Irish Times he was hired in order to
enhance the agencys team during the recapitalisation
process. His remit was to access the possibility of creating
a bad bank or risk insurance scheme to take so-called toxic
debts off the banks balance sheets in a bid to free up new
lending.
The government wanted a solution which was unique to
Ireland, one that would involve moving impaired property
loans, as well as the properties used to secure those loans,
into a new property company, which would be capitalised
and would seek to attract investment on the back of its
assets. It was in order to explore the practicalities of this
idea a toxic property company rather than a bad bank
that the minister hired Dr. Bacon. On 8 April 2009 a press
conference took place in Dublin where the result of these
efforts, Nama, was presented to the people, Brian Lenihan
told the assembled press that the creation of NAMA would
ensure that optimal value for money is obtained for the
taxpayer. It would purchase property portfolios from the
banks at a discount, and these portfolios would consist of
both good and bad loans. The minister reckoned that
among the loans to be transferred are about 60 billion of
land and property loans. The remaining 20 to 30 billion of
loans is secured on investment properties office blocks,
shops and hotels which have been provided as security for
the speculative loans drawn by developers.
The purpose of NAMA was to inject liquidity into the Irish
banking system, to get the economy moving again. It did
nothing of the sort. The proposal to buy loans at a
discounted price as a means of recapitalising the banks
carried an inherent contradiction. The larger the discount on
the loans, the greater the need to recapitalise the banks.
Every cent it saved on the loans was simply one more cent to
inject into the banks via State (rather than NAMA)
recapitalisation.
This was pointed out in a letter to the Irish Times on 17
April 2009 which was signed by twenty economists. Rather
than create fully healthy banks capable of functioning
without help from the State they wrote, the process may
continue to leave us with zombie banks that still require the
state-sponsored life-support machine that is the liability
guarantee. This, of course, is what took place.
Towards the end of the letter, the economists touched upon
what they probably believed to be the real reason behind
NAMA, but were too cautious to explicitly state out loud.
The Governments plans seem likely to keep in place the
current management at our biggest banks, they said. It
would be difficult to avoid claims of crony capitalism and
golden circles were billions of State monies to be placed into
the banks with minimal changes in their governance
structure.
The Fianna Fil/Green coalition had hoped that the cost of
buying Irish bank developers loans could be placed off-
books and so not counted as part of the national debt. The
rating agencies thought otherwise and told the Department
of Finance that it treats off-balance-sheet arrangements
[such as NAMA] as direct obligations of the government. As
a result, NAMA severely affected Irelands credit rating in
the months leading up to the momentous events in
November 2010.
In July 2011 it was revealed that the loan book of 65 billion
which had been bought by NAMA was the result of the failed
speculative purchases of just 180 individuals. The agencys
top three clients have debts totaling 8.3 billion. Just over
one-third of the loans bought by NAMA relate to land that
is, empty green fields which were bought on the expectation
of development, but to which nothing had been done.
Another 36% of the loans are associated loans that is,
loans backed by commercial investment properties. The
remaining 28% are development loans. The figures show
that the equation of ghost estates with NAMA is grossly
misleading. If you are looking at an empty field on the
outskirts of Dublin, Cork or Galway, chances are youre
looking at a failed NAMA investment.
Overall, NAMA has saddled the Irish taxpayer with a loan
book which equates to nearly 50% of the countrys GDP. It is
an impossible burden to bear. The original suppliers of the
debt the banks know this, and that is why it has been
dumped onto the shoulders of the State.
Irish private bank debt has to be decoupled from sovereign
debt if there is to be any chance of growth in the economy. It
is a dead weight, and a strong factor in the decision of the
international rating agencies to downgrade Irelands credit
rating. They watched for two years while the Irish
government took billions out of the real economy and used
that money as an IOU for the betting slips of property
speculators.
The fact NAMA continues to exist is testimony to the power
of those it is designed to protect. And whoever that is, one
thing is certain: it is not us.

It's so stressful Young


woman living in
Travelodge room with son
4 and mother who is
battling cancer

Cathal McMahon Twitter


EMAIL
PUBLISHED
19/02/2017
5
Kerry Darcy O'Brien with her Mother Helen O'Brien and her son
Kai (4) in her Travel Lodge Hotel yesterday. Photo: Colin
O'Riordan
A young woman has revealed she is living in
a hotel room with her young son and her
mother who is battling cancer.
Kerry Darcy OBrien (23) said she has run out of options
in her quest to find a home and has now issued a heartfelt
plea for help to Dublin City Council.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Darcy OBrien, who lives
with her mother Helen OBrien and son Kai (4), said they
have no cooking and washing facilities in their room at the
Travelodge on the Navan Road, Dublin.
We are just so stressed every day. I haven't been able to
sit down and think, she added
I just want anything, it's like we're just existing here. I
know it's hard out there, I know there are plenty of people
in this situation but we would just appeal for a home.
Ms Darcy OBrien explained that she and son Kai had been
living in rented accommodation in Finglas, North Dublin.
Over the summer they lost the house after their landlord
decided he wanted to live in the home.
Ms Darcy OBrien, who qualifies for the Housing
Assistance Payment (HAP), said she searched for
alternative accommodation but was unable .
In the meantime her mother Helen (48), who was living in
Liverpool, was diagnosed with multiple mylenoma cancer.
Helen decided to return to Dublin to be around family
during her chemotherapy treatment and started living
with Kerry, who is now acting as her full-time carer.
We were living with family and friends but after a while
that just became too much. We got in touch with TDs and
about two months ago we got this room in the
Travelodge.
She explained that there are no cooking facilities in the
room so they mostly eat take-away food.
Up to recently they had no fridge but one was recently
donated by a kind friend.
My mother is going through chemotherapy at the
moment, her immune system is down, so everything
should be spotless in the room, but thats impossible.
This is not a place for a young child to be living or a
woman going through cancer treatment.
Their living arrangement is having a significant toll of Ms
Darcy OBrien who admits that she is booking an
appointment with a psychiatrist for the family.
She said: We cant go on living like this.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney has promised an end to
homeless families being housed in hotels.
Last month he repeated that promise claiming were
ahead of schedule.
Mr Coveney said the Government exceeded its target of
4,200 social housing solutions last year by almost 1,000
through acquisitions, bringing voids units back into use,
long-term lease arrangements, and new construction.
"There's a real acceleration happening here in terms of
delivery," he said, pledging that there would be more than
21,000 social housing solutions provided in 2017
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/its-so-stressful-young-woman-
living-in-travelodge-room-with-son-4-and-mother-who-is-battling-cancer-
35463646.html

Coveney: 'I'm not crazy - I


will end homeless
families living in hostels'

Cormac McQuinn Twitter


PUBLISHED
04/01/2017

1
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Tom Burke
Housing Minister Simon Coveney has
defended his plan to tackle the housing
crisis - insisting "we're ahead of schedule".
And he vowed that despite a view that he was "crazy" to
promise an end to homeless families being housed in
hotels, he is "going to make that happen".
Almost six months after the launch of his 'Rebuilding
Ireland' action plan, Mr Coveney said there would be
about 14,000 homes completed in 2016. This is still far
short of the 25,000 that the Economic and Social Research
Institute (ESRI) estimated has to be built every year to
meet demand.
"We're ahead of schedule in terms of the Rebuilding
Ireland plan," Mr Coveney said, adding that he expected as
many as 19,000 housing units to be built in 2017.
Mr Coveney said the Government exceeded its target of
4,200 social housing solutions last year by almost 1,000
through acquisitions, bringing voids units back into use,
long-term lease arrangements, and new construction.
"There's a real acceleration happening here in terms of
delivery," he said, pledging that there would be more than
21,000 social housing solutions provided in 2017.
He also pointed to measurements of activity in the
building sector including an increase in construction
commencements and figures that show planning
permissions in Dublin increased by 57pc in the third
quarter of 2016 and were up 45pc nationally.
He said that Government funding for housing this year
would come to 1.2bn, up from 800m. The latest figures
showed that almost 7,000 people were homeless, but Mr
Coveney insisted the problem was "solvable".
He said this should include providing for medical needs as
well as housing - particularly for rough sleepers - and he
also vowed to end the practice of housing homeless
families in hotels.
He said some people said he was "crazy" to promise a
solution to the use of hotels and B&Bs for emergency
accommodation for families by the middle of 2017, but he
added: "I am going to make that happen."
Mr Coveney said that he thought Ireland was now "a more
socially divided place than I can ever remember", saying
this wasn't unusual among European countries that had
gone through recession and austerity.
He said he believed housing was a way of "healing" social
division and that the creation of mixed-tenure
communities that included private, social and affordable
housing was the "most ambitious thing" in his action plan.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/coveney-im-not-crazy-i-will-
end-homeless-families-living-in-hostels-35340271.html
2 CITIZEN GOVERNMENT POLITICAL AND PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM IN A ....
born in Ireland but residing abroad; and ii) 3 would be elected by Non-Irish
http://www.collinsinstitute.ie/reports/Collins-Institute-Citizen-Government.pdf
]
Yes' to same- sex marriage - The Irish Times
. Irish Times Limited, or under terms agreed with the appropriate ...
Ireland's referendum to legalise same-sex marriage was the first of its
kind in ... Perhaps the most effective voices for a Yes vote were those
of gay men ... Page 5 ..... Emotionally, I have been in a prison since the
age of 17; a prison ...rigged referendum
https://www.irishtimes.com/polopoly_fs/1.2226564!/menu/standard/file/Yes
%20We%20Do.pdf
- Dublin City Council
Oct 3, 2016 - the entrance of 65 & 66 Charlemont Street, Dublin 2. ....
Encourages British nationals with a right to vote living in Ireland to the
elected chairperson and Civic Mayor of Dublin City and Council.
https://www.dublincity.ie/councilmeetings/documents/g1807/Public%20repo
rts%20pack%2003rd-Oct-
2016%2018.15%20Monthly%20Council%20Meeting.pdf?T=10
THE ROLE OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS IN MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE- A
COMPARATIVE LAW PERSPECTIVE United States of America- The Supreme
Court
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/593503/EPRS_S
TU(2016)593503_EN.pdf









Poll: Would you like to see


Enda become Ireland's Brexit
minister?
February 20, 17
Hes built up an impressive book of EU contacts as Taoiseach. Could
he take over as a Minister for Brexit?

ENDA KENNY IS expected to set out his timeline for a


transition of power within Fine Gael this Wednesday when
he meets party colleagues, after growing pressure on his
position and days of speculation.
We dont know yet whether it will be a long or short goodbye
but either way, its clear the Mayo TDs time as Taoiseach
is coming to an end.
The idea that he could take over a newly-created brief as
Brexit minister gained traction on Marian Finucanes RT
show yesterday morning and in a poll for the Sunday
Business Post last month nearly three-quarters of
respondents said theyd like to see a new dedicated
ministerial role to deal with the Brexit fallout.
Were asking: Would you like to see Enda Kenny become
Irelands Brexit minister?

Poll Results:


http://www.thejournal.ie/enda-brexit-minister-3249954-Feb2017/
Dubliners keep their house
after Judge throws out vulture
fund's repossession case
The two people at the centre of the case smiled as they left court this
afternoon.
Oct 4th 2016,

TWO DUBLIN PEOPLE, who discovered an error in Bank of


Scotlands sale of their 170,000 mortgage to American-
owned vulture fund Tanager Limited, smiled as they left
court today after a judge threw out Tanagers bid to take
back their home.
Judge Jacqueline Linnanes decision to strike out Tanagers
re-possession proceedings in the Circuit Civil Court may
have a serious knock-on effect for Tanagers attempts to take
back other homes where mortgages are in arrears.
Tanager Limited, of Clanwilliam Square, Grand Canal Quay,
Dublin, is an American-owned private equity fund that
snapped up more than 2,000 distressed home loans at
discount rates from Bank of Scotland Ireland following its
cross-border merger in 2010. More than 90% of the loans
were two years or more in arrears.
When Michael and Ann Reilly, of Kilclare Avenue, Tallaght,
Dublin 24, found out that Tanager was seeking a court order
for possession of their home on the basis of a default in
repayments, Mr Reilly started probing the transfer of his
mortgage to Tanager.
He discovered his loan was with the Governor and Company
of the Bank of Scotland which had been dissolved at the
time. He had then been asked to sign a form to signify his
mortgage was with Bank of Scotland Plc before it sold its
distressed loans to Tanager.
Judge Linnane said that in accordance with a Supreme
Court decision relating to another case, Bank of Scotland Plc
at the time of transfer ought to have been put on the land
folio for the Reilly property and this had not been done.

Banks should be more careful


Barrister Veronica McInerney, who appeared with Sherwin
ORiordan solicitors for Tanager, said the error in title had
occurred at a time when there had been a number of
transfers and acquisitions involving the bank.
She said that at the time of the transfers and acquisitions
Woods Hogan, the solicitors for Bank of Scotlands various
entities, would probably have used a pro forma document
(to be signed as a matter of form) relating to mortgage
transfers.
Ms McInerney said Mr Reilly had been sent a document to
transfer the mortgage, which had been in favour of The
Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland, to the new
entity Bank of Scotland Ireland.
She told Judge Linnane the previous solicitors on record had
been Woods Hogan and a clear mistake had been made. She
said Tanager should be granted leave to bring a motion
simply changing the title of the mortgage.
Judge Linnane said she was granting Mr Reillys application
to strike out Tanagers application for possession on the
grounds of lack of jurisdiction and want of locus standi as he
had outlined in his motion.
She was amazed that despite all the lawyers involved it had
taken a lay litigant such as Mr Reilly to discover the error.
Banks should be much more careful in what they are
doing, Judge Linnane said.
http://www.thejournal.ie/dublin-couple-vulture-fund-house-3009845-
Oct2016/
A group of activists occupying a Nama-owned building in Dublin to
provide accommodation for the homeless, say they are willing to
meet with the state agency.

Apollo House on Tara Street in Dublin city centre was taken over by
a group of "concerned citizens" on Thursday night.

Lawyers for Nama, which owns the building, have ordered them to
leave.
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People stand behind the gates of Apollo House. Pictures: PA

The "Home Sweet Home" group say they've received huge support
from the public.

Rosi Leonard from the Irish Housing Network, said the number of
homeless using the facility is growing each night, with around 20
availing of the service last night.
"This is where they've been sleeping and congregating. It's amazing;
it's really, really positive," she said.

"The public support has been overwhelming. We received 800


volunteer applications over the past few days.

"A woman got on a train from Galway just to come here and drop off
two bags of duvets and then got back on the train to Galway.

"People are touched by this because they're fed up. Buildings like
this are really creating a spark."
HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland
We are all good for food for today and tomorrow. If any
other soup kitchens need food drop by Apollo House.
Thank you all. #HomeSweetHome
11:42 PM - 16 Dec 2016

More than 150,000 has been raised online for Apollo House.

More than 2,500 people have also volunteered their services at the
temporary homeless shelter in Dublin's city centre.

Thousands of food parcels, bags of clothes and sleeping bags have


been donated to the shelter.

The campaign say they have been overwhelmed by the level of


public support, including donations and messages of encouragement
from around the world.

Home Sweet Home say mental health professionals, construction


and maintenance workers and medical personnel have all been
helping out.

Christmas dinner was provided for 70 people there yesterday by


some of Dublin's top chefs.

Campaigners have been told by the courts to vacate the premises by


January 11.

One resident said he is just grateful to have somewhere to call home


this Christmas.

It is amazing, he said. Obviously people have taken it to heart and


even amongst us, the residents, we think that we have taken a
stand.

They gave us a light you know, it has been brilliant. I am so happy


here I just dont want to leave.

Home Sweet Home Eire has shared a Facebook live video of Glen
Hansard and others performing for the crowd inside Apollo House on
Christmas Day.
The last resident of Apollo house has left the building.

It follows a High Court order to vacate the NAMA owner office block.

The man had refused to leave earlier today and agreed to move
elsewhere after talks with Garda and homeless campaigners this
evening.

However Home Sweet Home says they will continue their efforts to
raise the plight of rough sleepers.

Rosi Leonard from Home Sweet Home, said it was emotional to leave
Apollo House: "I feel amazing, because I feel Im part of a community
of people that formed at Apollo House.

"And you have absolutely no intention of letting it end at just the


gates of Apollo House.

"We did something extraordinary which was we managed to save


lives and we managed to give people dignity and we managed to
empower people whose voices werent being listened to."
Follow
HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland
Tonight at Central Bank, Dublin, volunteers from Walking
In Their Shoes are feeding people and giving them clothes
https://www.
facebook.com/Walking-in-THE
IR-Shoes-209065022823367/

9:04 PM - 12 Jan 2017


48 48 Retweets61 61 likes

Follow

Drivetime RTE

@drivetimerte
What's really been achieved by Apollo House
campaigners? @johncookeradio brings us up to date now
#ApolloHouse #Homelessness @HSHIreland
5:09 PM - 12 Jan 2017
3 3 Retweets6 6 likes

Follow

HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland
Wondering what's happening with #HomeSweetHome and
the people who were in Apollo House? Statement at
https://
twitter.com/HSHIreland/sta
tus/819498318040625152
#apollohouse
12:24 PM - 12 Jan 2017
23 23 Retweets32 32 likes

Lawyers representing Nama have issued an order to vacate Apollo


House, after it was occupied by activists who converted it into
emergency accommodation for the homeless.

The group which is occupying the building on Dublin's Tara Street


says vacant properties owned by the State agency should be used to
house the homeless. They renamed Apollo House 'Home Sweet
Home'.

Rosi Leonard from the Irish Housing Network, gave her reaction to
the order issued to them to leave.

She said: "It seems obscene that Nama isnt being utilised to help
prevent the (homelessness) crisis.

"Our main concern is ending the homelessness crisis. As to how we


proceed on that, it remains to be seen."
Asked what the response would be if the group are told by the
authorities to vacate the building, Hansard said: You appeal to the
better nature of the Government and Nama.

This is a NAMA-owned building. If everybody pays tax in this


audience, if anyone knows their stuff they know that that is
essentially our building. We are just going to take it for a few
months.

The action came about through conversations with different artists,


singers and friends over the year, he told Tubridy.

I found myself part of a group of people who are essentially


concerned citizens and we wondered is there a way that we could
stage an intervention on our own behalf, he said.

So I find myself now part of group called Home Sweet Home. It is a


group of artists, a group of friends, a group of people that we know
and love. Like minded souls. Jim Sheridan Andrew Hozier, Saoirse
Ronan, Christy Moore.
Mattress Mick has been great, he has really helped us out a lot. He
has donated a lot of beds.

Home Sweet Home wants to start a national conversation around


homelessness, he told the audience.
What we are trying to do is get a national conversation started, he
said.

This should be a national emergency... The homelessness is at a


level now, not since the Famine have families been homeless like
they are right now. It is really, really difficult.

Home Sweet Home - Ending Homelessness in


Ireland
Dec 15, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk4scySuANo
Home Sweet Home - Jim Sheridan joins the fight
to end homelessness
Dec 15, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsoX73Y5o-Y
Housing Minister Simon Coveney said he will work with the activists
behind Apollo House and that they have sparked a national
conversation about homelessness, writes Joyce Fegan.

"I will of course work with people who are behind the campaign in
Apollo House to ensure that we do try to transition the homeless
people that they are currently looking after into a more medium-
term and permanent solution," he said this morning.
Asked whether he thought Apollo House was unnecessary this
Christmas, given the extra 200 beds being opened for rough sleepers
this week, he said no.
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"Well no, I think a conversation on homelessness is necessary and I


think many of the advocates who are part of the Apollo House and
Home Sweet Home campaign are very sincere in their determination
to get people talking about homelessness and what is the
appropriate response to that," Minister Coveney stated.
He was speaking to the media at the launch of the Simon
Communities of Ireland's annual report for 2015.
However, the minister said homeless people have complex needs
and require suitable accommodation.
"I don't think it's a solution for people who are homeless to actually
be accommodated in a building that's probably not suitable for that.
I don't know because I haven't visited Apollo House," he said.
"Where I want vulnerable homeless people to be is in the care of
organisations like the Simon Community, like Peter McVerry Trust,
like Focus Ireland, like St Vincent de Paul, like many other
organisations that have the experience to deal with the complexity
of supporting homeless people and to help them transition into
social housing," he added.
He also referred to the High Court case being held at 10.30am this
morning, where the receivers of Apollo House are seeking an order
to vacate the residents on health and safety grounds.
"We're not looking to make an example of anybody. There is a court
case this morning that will take its course," the minister said.
However, he did state that "proactive campaigning," had started a
conversation.
"Across the country we have had a national conversation about
homelessness linked to proactive campaigning and in many ways I
understand where that's coming from in terms of frustration," said
Minister Coveney.
The Home Sweet Home campaign is jointly organised by the Irish
Housing Network and various trade unionists as well as receiving
backing from celebrities such as Saoirse Ronan, Jim Sheridan and
Glen Hansard.
Approximately 32 people were housed there last night.
Homeless people being illegally sheltered in the Nama-owned
Apollo House building should be allowed to stay there until after
Christmas instead of facing trespassing notices, a Government
minister has said.

Fiachra Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner writes that Children's


Minister and unaligned Independent TD Katherine Zappone made
the remark in Government Buildings this morning, saying while she
has concerns about the situation, the individuals should not be
moved unless "appropriate shelter" elsewhere is found.

Late last week more than 20 homeless people and celebrities


including singers Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey occupied the
former Department of Social Protection building near Tara Street
dart station in Dublin to highlight stark levels of homelessness
across the country and the need for immediate action on the issue.
advertisement

The building is in the possession of Nama, which is seeking the


removal of the individuals who are acting as part of the Home Sweet
Home campaign.
Asked about the situation on Monday morning, Ms Zappone admitted
she has concerns about a group of people taking illegal ownership of
a property saying her views are similar to those expressed by
homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.

However, she said if no suitable alternative accommodation is found,


those involved in the campaign should be allowed to stay at Apollo
House until after Christmas so they do not have to face the holiday
season on the streets.

"If that's what provides the appropriate shelter for those people
during Christmas, why not," she said.

"It is very complicated, there are lots of things that need to change.

"There is a lot of administrative bureaucracy, we need to cut through


that tape in terms of supply, and I'm very glad we're at the point that
there's some form of rent freeze over the coming years.

"But it isn't moving fast enough so I think it is really important and I


welcome engaged citizens to call for more," she said.
Homeless people being illegally sheltered in Apollo House should be
allowed to stay there until after Christmas instead of facing
trespassing notices, a government minister has said.

Michelle Connolly from the Irish Housing Network outside Apollo


House, Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

Childrens minister and unaligned Independent TD Katherine


Zappone made the claim yesterday, saying while she has concerns
about the situation the individuals should not be moved unless
appropriate shelter elsewhere is found.
Ms Zappone admitted she has concerns about a group of people
taking illegal ownership of a property saying her views are similar to
those expressed by homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.
However, she said, if no suitable alternative accommodation is found,
those involved in the campaign should be allowed to stay at Apollo
House until after Christmas so they do not have to face the holiday
season on the streets.
If thats what provides the appropriate shelter for those people
during Christmas, why not, she said.
It is very complicated, there are lots of things that need to change.
There is a lot of administrative bureaucracy, we need to cut through
that tape in terms of supply, and Im very glad were at the point that
theres some form of rent freeze over the coming years.
But it isnt moving fast enough so I think it is really important and I
welcome engaged citizens to call for more, she said.
The receivers for Apollo House, Mazars, declined to comment on the
matter last night other than to say they remain in discussions with
the organisers of the campaign.
Home Sweet Home campaigners have urged Finance Minister
Michael Noonan to instruct Nama to make buildings available to
address Irelands homelessness crisis in the wake of the Apollo
House stand-off, writes Fiachra Cionnaith, Irish Examiner Political
Correspondent.
A senior counsel lawyer acting on behalf of some of the people
sleeping at the former Department of Social Protection building
made the call for action yesterday, despite Department of Finance
officials noting that any Apollo House issues remain a matter for the
receiver, Mazars.
Speaking on RT Radios Morning Ireland programme 24 hours after
the High Court said up to 40 homeless people illegally occupying
Apollo House in Dublins city centre can remain at the site until noon
on January 11, Ross Maguire, a senior counsel acting on behalf of
four of the individuals, said that while the reprieve is welcome, it
does not go far enough.
Calling for immediate intervention by the Government, Mr Maguire
said Mr Noonan should use powers under the Nama Act to instruct
the State property group to make buildings available to fight the
ongoing homelessness crisis.

Michael Noonan
In a bid to force through the high-profile move, he said the Home
Sweet Home campaign, fronted by musicians Glen Hansard and
Damien Dempsey, and which also includes Right2Water member
Brendan Ogle, would be writing to Mr Noonan by last night to call
for the move to take place.

The request will be made to the minister to instruct Nama to


contribute direct assistance, said Mr Maguire.

This has to be more than providing a space on the floor.

Mr Maguire added that the Nama act specifically allows for Mr


Noonan to issue such a demand.

Asked about previous Nama suggestions that local councils, and not
the State property group, have delayed buildings being used as
homeless shelters in the past, Mr Maguire said that this was because
theres never been a direction by the minister.

When you actually look at what they are providing, its not good
enough, he said. When you look at what they plan to replace
[Apollo House] with, its a big glass tower with Dolce & Gabbana
shops. Beautiful, but thats strange when you juxtapose it with
people with nowhere to go. It has to be more than a mat on the
floor.

While the Department of Finance had yet to receive any


correspondence from the Home Sweet Home campaign by last night,
it is understood the department believes any Apollo House issues
should be directed to the receiver, Mazars, which is looking after the
case.
Apollo House
Meanwhile, the deputy chief executive of Dublin City Council has
said that while he admires the Home Sweet Home campaign, the
reality is that Apollo House is not acceptable accommodation for
people in need.

Despite campaigners stressing that public liability insurance will not


run out on the building until January 16 meaning there will be no
financial risk posed by accidents or fires senior council official
Brendan Kenny said doubts remain about the safety of people at
the site.

He said the council and Government are very, very close to breaking
the back of the homelessness crisis, and stressed that he remains
concerned if people are left there [Apollo House] over Christmas.

Home Sweet Home says they're increasingly concerned about the


Government's commitment to the deal on Apollo House.

It's after Simon Coveney suggested the two new homeless shelters
would have come on stream even without the occupation.

They say eight residents who had left Apollo House have since
returned because of poor conditions in other hostels.
advertisement
A court order is due to come into effect tomorrow for the occupiers
to vacate the NAMA owned building.

Tomorrow morning legal representatives of Apollo House will apply


for a stay on the order to vacate the building.

Their occupation is due to become illegal at noon - but they want to


extend their occupancy until all the homeless people in the building
can be re-homed, as per their deal with Housing Minister Simon
Coveney.
Terry McMahon delivers powerful
speech to awaken our national
dormant spirit
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Last weekend a group of people did something remarkable and
incredibly important.

Home Sweet Home volunteers, the Irish Housing Network and other
leaders occupied Apollo House, a Nama building on Tara Street in
Dublin, and began moving people in.
"With a view to doing one single action that might, in the Centenary
of 1916, make us feel like we havent entirely lost our spirit."
These actions have highlighted the cold severity of austerity and
poverty in our society.
"This was an act of defiance as much as an act of humanity."
Film director Terry McMahon has lent his support and in
collaboration with Damien Dempsey, John Connors, Dean Scurry, Jim
Sheridan, and Maverick Sabre has produced this speech.
McMahon says that "its a different war now", one where "bullets are
banks and bombs are big business" and one where "people are
profit-margins now."
The incredibly powerful speech is "about strength" and McMahons
battles to keep his voice steady as he speaks about "our Ireland"
where we have "failed miserably".
"Where the census office can report a quarter of a million empty
properties and the homeless can fuck off and die."
McMahon says: "That night the NAMA building was taken and
something magical was born."
That magic took an "absurd ambition" and reminded us that this is
our Ireland.

THIS IS OUR IRELAND'


Dec 18, 2016
This video ended up being uploaded to multiple platforms including The
Irish Times, Newstalk, Joe.ie and Irish Central and went on to be viewed a
few million times with tens of thousands of shares.**** Links below.

Ever the alchemist, Dean Scurry got Damien Dempsey, John Connors,
Maverick Sabre and me to work with a group of remarkable young men at
The Axis Theatre in Ballymun. That led to months of ongoing
conversations about the nature of our nation and the political paralysis of
our people. Larger meetings with leaders of the arts were sometimes
wonderful but often just exercises in frustration. Invariably it would end
up with me, Dean, John and Damo being perceived as too extreme in our
insistence that whatever was to be done, it had to be on a grand scale. It
would have to be something beneficial to our most vulnerable. But it
would also have to be something that might awaken our national dormant
spirit. It was an absurd ambition. A fantasy. An impossibility.

Months later, the call came through. "It's happening." That's all Dean said.
"And we need you to write the words." This remarkable man had been
working relentlessly with the equally remarkable Brendan Ogle and
together, along with innumerable unsung heroes and heroines who have
been working for decades to fight injustices, they had set in motion a
philosophical, humanistic and, most importantly, pragmatic plan to protect
our most vulnerable and inspire our collective spirit. I went to a bar and
tried to write. Nothing came out. I called Dean and asked who am I writing
for? "Who do you want?" I wanted the most famous working class Dublin
artist there has ever been, Jim Sheridan. "I'm on it." Dean said.

Ordered another drink but the words wouldn't come. All the standard
bullshit that goes with fear and doubt and ego and vanity and hubris and
judgement was kicking in but then the simple realisation hit. This is not
about fear. This is about strength. Just tell the truth. The words came.
Called Dean. Quietly read the words over the phone to him as the full bar
was singing Christmas songs. He listened to the end then whispered,
"Shivers, brother, shivers."

Next day it was happening. We met at the Unite Office. A stunning group of
people. Hours of discussions and decisions. Then the words came up.
Curtis 'Fifty Cent' Jackson has been shot twice but he said the only man
he's ever been sacred of is Jim Sheridan. That's how tough Sheridan is. He
is also a beautiful, courageous humanist and a hero to many. Including me.
Some folk fought for the words, others didn't. It was too long. Too extreme.
Too much. The final decision was to keep it much simpler. When Sheridan
opens his mouth people listen anyway. He doesn't need a hack. The words
were in the bin but the magic was happening. We walked to the GPO and
Jim and Damo and Glen Hansard captured the mood better than any hack.
That night the NAMA building was taken and something magical was born.

Then last night I get another call from Dean. There's a comedy gig in the
Axis Theatre, he says, where we started this conversation all that time ago,
and he wants me to read the words to the audience. A comedy audience?
Only he could think it was a good idea. Only he could make me put the fear
aside and do it. Only he could know that comedy audience would give
those words a standing ovation. This is our Ireland.

****This video ended up being uploaded to multiple platforms including
The Irish Times, Newstalk, Joe.ie and Irish Central and went on to be
viewed a few million times with tens of thousands of shares.*
Newstalk :

https://www.facebook.com/newstalkfm/v...

Irish Times :

https://www.facebook.com/irishtimes/v...

Irish Examiner :

http://www.irishexaminer.com/examvira...

Irish Central :

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/poli...

#HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland #ThisIsOurIreland

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zYyvMfkU2g
Home sweet home
By Darina Allen
Saturday, September 23, 2006
BY NOW, I hope you have had time to tune in to my lovely daughter-
in-law Rachels Favourite Food at Home on Wednesdays at 7.30pm
on RT 1.
Rachels recipes are easy and delicious and the book that
accompanies the series has a great mix of international and ethnic
recipes, classic regional fare and good old-fashioned family
favourites such as macaroni cheese, homemade sausages and banana
butterscotch pudding.

The 10 chapters are enticingly titled Easy Family Food, Sweet


Celebrations, Picnics and Days Out, Food for Children, Extended
Family, Dining Alfresco, Home Cinema, Big Celebrations, Edible Gifts
and Just like Mum Used To Make.

Each section has a selection of recipes accompanied by Peter


Cassidys beautiful photos and the equally stunning location shots
were taken by Cristian Barnett.

Rachel is a busy mother with two boisterous boys. She encourages


her contemporaries to bring the children into the kitchen to let them
help with the peeling, chopping and cooking and to hell with the
mess.

Its all about having fun and whetting the childrens appetite, not
only for food but also for cooking and the simple pleasure of sitting
down around the kitchen table to share some good food with family
and friends.

Rachels Favourite Food At Home is published by Collins and is


available in hardback at 22.95.

Upside-down apple and cinnamon cake


Serves 8

50g (2oz) butter


250g (9oz) brown sugar
3 eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced 5mm ( in) thick
200g (7oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
tsp salt
tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 generous tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
200ml (7floz) buttermilk or sour milk
75ml (2 floz) vegetable or sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), gas mark 4.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized ovenproof frying pan (measuring


25cm (10in) in diameter).

Stir in half the sugar and cook over a gentle heat for about 2
minutes. Add the apple theres no need to stir and remove from
the heat and set aside.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and ground
cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk the eggs in a measuring jug or small
bowl and add the remaining sugar, buttermilk and oil. Mix together,
then pour into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine into a liquid
batter.

Pour this over the apple in the pan. Place the pan in the preheated
oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake feels firm in the
centre.

Cool for 5 minutes before turning out by placing an inverted plate


over the top of the pan and turning pan and plate over together in
one quick movement.

Serve warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream.

Bill Grangers banana butterscotch pudding


Serves 4-6
This recipe originally came from Bills book, Simply Bill, and he
cooked it when Rachel appeared with him on Great Food Live. She
adapted it slightly to fit her pie dish; to make it for 12 people double
the recipe and cook in a 25cm (10in) square gratin dish for 55
minutes.

For the pudding:


125g (4oz) plain flour
3 level tsp baking powder
125g (4oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 banana, mashed
250ml (8floz) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g (3oz) butter, melted

For the topping:


100g (4oz) soft brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
150ml (5floz) boiling water

To serve:
Softly whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), gas mark 4. Sift the flour and
baking powder into a bowl. Add the caster sugar. Mix together the
beaten egg, the mashed banana, milk, vanilla extract and melted
butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir to mix until combined.
Pour this wet dough into a 1.25-litre (2 pint) pie dish and place the
dish on a baking tray.

To make the topping: Put the brown sugar, golden syrup and boiling
water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then drizzle it all over
the pudding. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until
it feels slightly firm in the centre.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. If you are not
going to serve the pudding immediately, keep it somewhere warm
until you are ready it sits quite happily.

Parmesan chicken goujons


Serves 6-8

Use good-quality free-range chicken and youll have a delicious and


nutritious meal the little ones will adore. Rachels children love
dipping these goujons into homemade tomato ketchup or
mayonnaise or sometimes a mixture of the two.

600g (1lb 6oz) boneless and skinless chicken


50g (2oz) plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
100g (4oz) breadcrumbs
50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, or something similar, such as Grana
Padano, finely grated
3 tbsp sunflower oil

These can either be cooked on the hob or in the oven. If using the
oven, preheat to 200C (400F), gas mark 6, and place on a baking tray
in the oven to preheat.

Cut the chicken into goujons the size of a big finger (1x10cm or
x4in). Place the flour in a mixing bowl or in a plastic bag with
some salt and pepper.

Place the beaten eggs in another bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs and
finely grated cheese together and place in a bowl or bag as well.

Toss the goujons in the seasoned flour, making sure they do not stick
together, then remove. Shake off the excess flour and dip them in
the beaten egg.

Remove from the egg, letting the excess drip off, and toss into the
breadcrumb cheese mix. Shake off the excess and lay the goujons on
a plate.
To cook on the hob: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium
to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the goujons in a single layer,
cook on one side for about 3 minutes until golden, then turn down
the heat and flip the pieces over. Cook on the other side for about 4
minutes, until cooked through and golden.

To cook the goujons in the oven: Drizzle the base of the preheated
tray with the oil and lay the floured and seasoned goujons in a single
layer. Bake in the oven for about 12-18 minutes, turning the goujons
over halfway through, or when golden on one side. When they are
completely cooked, remove from the oven and serve.

Lamb samosas
Makes 20

Samosas are the ultimate finger food, which makes them the
ultimate telly food. Use filo pastry as a faster alternative to the
traditional samosa pastry. For a vegetarian version, replace the lamb
with an equal quantity of boiled, skinned and chopped potato.

2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil


300g (11oz) finely chopped or minced lamb
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g (4oz) peas (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
5 sheets of filo pastry, measuring 25x50cm (10x20in)
1 egg, beaten

Heat a frying pan, add the sunflower or olive oil, then toss in the
lamb, onion and ground spices. Season and cook for about 10
minutes without a lid until the lamb is just cooked and the juices
have evaporated. Add the peas and toss. Take off the heat and add
the chopped coriander and season again to taste. Set aside for a
minute to let the lamb cool.
Meanwhile, lay the filo pastry out on a board and cut into half
lengthways, then into half widthways, so you have four rectangles
from each whole sheet.

Cover all the pieces of filo with a barely damp tea towel (to prevent
them from drying out).

Place one sheet lengthways in front of you and pile a dessertspoon


of the lamb mixture at the end closest to you. Roll the pastry from
the end closest to you once, then fold in both the long sides and roll
over and over, away from you, into a little parcel. Brush the finishing
edge with a little of the beaten egg to seal and then place on a
baking tray. Brush the finished samosa with beaten egg and repeat
with all the remaining pastry and meat.

These can be prepared earlier in the day up to this point and chilled
in the fridge. To cook, place the baking tray into an oven preheated
to 220C (425F), gas mark 7, for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Foolproof food
Popcorn Paradise
Serves 4

Its difficult to have a home cinema night without popcorn, so why


not try this recipe and all its variations? Serve the popcorn in a big
bowl or in paper cornets for each person.

Plain popcorn:
3 tbsp sunflower oil
75g (3oz) popcorn
25g (1oz) butter
Pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the popcorn and swirl
the pan to coat the popcorn in oil. Turn down the heat to low, cover,
and the corn should start to pop in a couple of minutes. As soon as it
starts popping (after 5-7 minutes), take the saucepan off the heat
and add the butter and salt. Put the lid back on the pan and shake to
mix. Pour out into bowls and leave to cool a little.

Variations Toffee Popcorn:


Cook the popcorn as for the plain popcorn recipe, but while the corn
is popping, make the toffee coating by melting 25g (1oz) butter in a
small saucepan. Then add 25g (1oz) brown sugar and 1 generous
tablespoon golden syrup and stir over a high heat for -1 minute
until thick. Pour the toffee over the popcorn, put the lid on the pan
and shake to mix. Pour out into bowls and cool a little before
serving.

Spiced Popcorn:
Cook the popcorn for the plain popcorn recipe as far as removing the
pan from the heat. In a bowl, mix 1 teaspoons each of ground
cumin and coriander seeds with teaspoon each of medium-
strength curry powder and ground paprika and teaspoon ground
cayenne pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons sunflower oil in a frying pan, add
the spices and stir for about 30 seconds until lightly toasted. Throw
in 25g (1oz) caster sugar and teaspoon salt, stir, then add all of
this into the prepared popcorn in the saucepan, toss and empty into
a big bowl.

Hot tips
Herb tour and talk at Airfield Gardens, Dundrum, Dublin 14,
tomorrow at 2.30pm. Cost 10. Tel 01-2984301 or email
booking@airfield.ie.

North West Food Fest continues: today, McNean Food Trail, 1-


7.30pm; tomorrow, Family Fun Fungus Forage, 10am-5pm. Tel Alex
at 071-9643963.

The Organic Fair is at the Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co Leitrim. Tel


071-9854338.

Louth Food Group: Nine local producers have come together to


promote, develop and grow their business.
More details from Michelle OBrien, tel 041-6857375; email
michelle@louthleader.com.

Cork Free Choice Consumer Group resumes its meetings on Thursday


at 7.30pm, at the Crawford Art Gallery Cafe, Emmet Place, Cork.

Derek OBrien, head of the National Bakery School, Dublin, will give a
talk on homemade breads, Irish traditional breads, old and new
bakeries and their products.

Admission is 6 and includes tea, coffee and tastings.


Record number of
homeless children
and adults, charity
says
Updated / Monday, 20 Feb 2017

Focus Ireland has said that the number of homeless people in


Ireland has risen from 5,715 last year
This is the actual article body
The number of homeless adults and children is at a
"record high" according to the housing and homeless
charity Focus Ireland.
The charity, citing Government figures, said the
number has risen from 7,148 in December 2016 to
7,167 last month.
Focus Ireland also said the number of homeless
people has a risen by a quarter since this time last
year, when it stood at 5,715.
It said there was a slight reduction in the number of
homeless families around Ireland last month.
However, the charity said that the total number of
homeless families is up by one third on this time last
year, from 884 to 1,172.
Focus Ireland also said that 87 families with 151
children became homeless last month.
Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland
said: "This means that shockingly a child became
homeless every five hours in Dublin during the month
of January."
The charity has renewed its call on the Government
to tackle the ongoing crisis, and called on Minister for
Housing Simon Coveney to set out a "clear set of
actions and objectives which is going to take over the
next three years to prevent family homelessness, and
provide support and new homes to those who are
already experiencing it."
Mr Allen said: "In recent years we have seen a
pattern of a fall in the number of families becoming
homeless in December followed by sudden increase
in January. This year there is a different pattern with
no real fall in December, and a small fall in January.
"Behind this pattern we see continued high numbers
entering homelessness in Dublin and even higher"

http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0220/854116-homelessness-figures-focus-
ireland/

Homeless activists take over disused


office building in Sligo town

Activists in Sligo town have occupied an empty office building there.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
The building, which is believed to be owned by Nama, has been
taken over by homeless activists in a similar way to the occupation
of Apollo House in Dublin by Home Sweet Home activists recently.

A local source has described the occupation as "along the same


lines" as Apollo House, saying: "Its just an old, disused Nama
building, although the people involved could leave or they could
stay, its hard to tell."
The building's location is being kept secret for the time being, but
there is said to be fewer than 10 homeless people present in the
disused offices which have no water or electricity.

However, the occupants do have mattresses and food and the


conditions have been described as warm.

View image on Twitter

Follow

Paddy Gallchbhair @o_gallchobhair


A building now being occupied in #Sligo due to the
homeless crisis. Brilliant to see. Following the footsteps of
#HomeSweetHome #apollohouse
8:57 PM - 21 Dec 2016
31 31 Retweets42 42 likes
It is being reported by the Journal.ie that the owners of the building
have not taken any action yet to take it back from the occupiers.

Breakingnews.ie have contacted the Garda and are awaiting


confirmation from them about the occupation.

File photo of Sligo Town via Google Maps


The Peter McVerry Trust says there needs to be a focus on long-term
solutions for homelessness.

Staff from the homeless charity will visit Apollo House in Dublin
today where occupants have until January 11 to vacate the building.

The Trust is opening up a further 25 beds in Ellis Quay tonight,


where 70 people will be able to stay over Christmas, and into the
summer.

CEO Pat Doyle says the Home Sweet Home campaign is doing a
great job at highlighting the issue, but he fears for the residents of
Apollo House.

Mr Doyle said: "I know our population of homeless people, I've


worked with them all my life and we've worked with around 4,500 of
them this year.
"Some people who are homeless just need a house, but some people
have other issues, complex issues, and so obviously I would have
concerns for their wellbeing.

"That's not to put any judgement on those who are running Apollo
House."
Focus Ireland has said new Government figures reporting that, for
the first time, over 7,000 people are homeless shows the crisis is
deepening.

The Homeless Report for December by the Department of Housing


found that 7,148 were homeless nationwide in the week of
December 18-25.
It is terrible to see over 7,000 people (including over 2,500 children)
homeless for the first time on record, said Focus Ireland chief
executive Ashley Balbirnie.
This is wrong and totally unacceptable. We worked to support over
230 families to move out of homelessness into secure homes (in
partnership with the DRHE and local authorities) in the first 10
months of last year. However, as these new figures show there is still
much work to be done if we are to end this homeless crisis.
The bulk of the 4,643 adult homeless were based in Dublin (3,162) at
the time of the report. It was a similar story for the 2,505 homeless
children, of which 2,096 were in the capital.
In a statement accompanying its figures in the report, the
department admitted there had been significant rises in rates of
homelessness in recent times and said the root cause is the supply
shortage across the housing sector, which in turn is a result of the
recent economic collapse and the associated damage to the
construction sector.
However it is important to note that much is being done to address
homelessness and to secure sustainable tenancies for homeless
households.
"For example, housing authorities assisted in more than 2,000
sustainable exits from homeless in the first three-quarters of 2016.
While final details are awaited, it is anticipated that 2,700
sustainable exits will have been achieved in 2016.
Over 7,000 people are now homeless in Ireland.

Figures from the Department of Housing show over 2,500 children


are homeless for the first time on record.

Roughan Mac Namara from Focus Ireland says the newly released
report for December proves the crisis is deepening.
"Focus Ireland is highly concerned that the figures show that the
number of homeless people in Ireland have reached over 7,000 for
the first time ever.

"This is a clear sign the homeless crisis continues to deepen... The


Government has clearly not done all it can."







Dozens of South Americans and Eastern Europeans are unlawfully
being rented living space in a single Co Dublin house in dangerous,
unhealthy, and cramped conditions, a court has heard.

Barrister Liam OConnell told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that, next


Friday, he would be asking her to order Richard Stanley to
immediately end the use of his property at The Pines, Lehaunstown,
Cabinteely, as what can only be described as an unauthorised
hostel.
Mr OConnell, at the Circuit Civil Court with Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown
County Councils law agent Dorothy Kennedy, said the private
dwelling was considered a fire and health risk.
It has come to the councils notice that the three-storey dwelling is
being used as other than a private dwelling, with up to 17
individuals in one room and about 36 people housed in the
basement, Mr OConnell told the court.
Aonghus ONeill, a planning inspector with the local authority, told
the court in a sworn affidavit that the house, on four levels, was
registered at the Land Registry in the name of Richard Stanley as
owner. It comprised a basement with two rooms, a ground floor, first
floor, and attic level.
Mr OConnell told Judge Linnane that the county council had become
aware of reports that up to 70 people were living in the house and,
for health and safety reasons, it carried out an inspection. He said Mr
ONeill and another council inspector, Aidan Shannon, found that
almost every room they could obtain access to had been filled with
either double beds or bunk beds.
Loose electrical cord providing power to a washing machine and two
tumble dryers at the top of a stairs leading to the basement had to
be avoided. In a boiler room, there were no smoke or heat detectors
and flammable materials were scattered about the room.
They had found a communal dining room, while three rooms on the
first floor had been locked shut.
Mr OConnell said the use of the property had changed from that of a
private dwelling to one involving the provision of accommodation to
paying customers.
He said the county council would be seeking an injunction
restraining the continued use of the house as a multi-occupancy
dormitory property.
Mr OConnell said the council had sought undertakings from Mr
Stanley to terminate multi-occupancy forthwith and to arrange for
and provide suitable accommodation for those people
accommodated there.
Judge Linnane said that, out of consideration for the plight of the
people living in the property, she would not grant immediate
restraints or injunctions, but would deal with the matter on Friday on
notice to Mr Stanley.

The Housing Committee is meeting today to discuss the progress of
the Government's strategy for the sector.

The strategy, called Rebuilding Ireland, was launched last summer by


Minister Simon Coveney.

Its five pillars include plans to encourage the construction of more


residential properties, to improve the rental market and to reduce
the number of homeless people.
Chairperson of the Housing Committee Maria Bailey said it had some
success.

"We have seen that, thankfully, 2,700 individuals and families are
now living in supported accommodation - social housing or in the
private sector. They have exited homelessness," she said.

"We need to continue that and provide for many more people, but at
least hat's a good start."


The state's bad-bank Nama said it has delivered 2,378 social houses
and apartments amid renewed calls for it to make more property
available for the homeless.

The Home Sweet Home campaign demanded the Government force


the agency to move faster as a deadline looms for the group to leave
the Apollo House office block in central Dublin.

Up to 40 homeless people have been living in the once-empty civil


service building since it was occupied by activists in the middle of
December.

Organisers are to meet Housing Minister Simon Coveney on Friday as


behind-the-scenes efforts are made to avoid the potential for a
forced eviction when a court order kicks in next Wednesday at
midday.

Brendan Ogle (pictured), one of those leading the campaign, said


Nama can be forced to increase the amount of social housing
available "at the stroke of a pen".

"The bar has been raised in terms of the minimum standards that
should be provided to our most vulnerable citizens, those homeless
people who find themselves on the street," he said.

Mr Ogle outlined a series of demands to deal with the housing and


homelessness crisis and to help bring an end to the occupation of
Apollo House.

The campaign's emergency housing response plan includes calls for


accommodation which homeless people can access 24 hours a day
and remain in for six months, private beds and access to services.

"We believe ... through Nama, our ministers are in a fortunate


position. Angela Merkel doesn't have a Nama. There's homelessness
in Berlin. Theresa May doesn't have a Nama and there's
homelessness in London. And Francois Hollande doesn't have a
Nama and there's homelessness in Paris," Mr Ogle said.

The trade union official said Finance Minister Michael Noonan and
his cabinet colleague Mr Coveney effectively control land and
buildings which can be re-designated for the homeless people living
in Apollo House.

In its annual review Nama defended its work on social housing and
said it delivered 2,378 houses and apartments in 167 individual
projects in 19 counties.

They include 899 in the four Dublin council areas, 445 in Cork city
and county, 228 in Galway city and county, 51 in Waterford and 16 in
Limerick.

Another 370 homes are being worked on.

It said it had identified 6,941 homes for social housing since 2012.

In its statement it said: "Throughout 2016, Nama continued to work


closely with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and
Local Government and the Housing Agency in seeking to match the
residential stock held by its debtors and receivers with the
requirements of local authorities for social housing."

Nama also said that it had 2.2bn in cash at the end of last year and
that it expects to turn a profit of about 2.3bn when it finishes its
work.

It said that the number of unfinished or ghost estates on its books


came down from 332 at the end of 2010 to 25 at the end of last year.
Nama said it should be resolved this year.

The Home Sweet Home campaign sent a petition to Mr Noonan


earlier this week urging him to use a clause in the Nama act to force
it to make property available for social housing.
The Department of Finance says it will consider a letter from the
occupiers of Apollo House in Dublin.

'Home Sweet Home' handed a letter to the Department calling for


Michael Noonan to use NAMA properties for social housing.

The Department says it's aware of the powers of NAMA, with


activists saying the minister could compel it to provide more social
housing.
Follow

HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland
The people showing their support outside the
government's doors. Hope they can all hear us in the Dil
#apollohouse #HomeSweetHome
1:20 PM - 3 Jan 2017
64 64 Retweets108 108 likes

Hundreds of protesters marched to the Department earlier.

Apollo House resident Mitzalo Reys says the service is providing


something the government is not.

"You are secure, you know, there is no danger to your safety in


Apollo House. They welcome you, the people are so nice and
welcoming and they would gladly accept many more homeless.
"All the homeless that are out there, they would be gladly welcomed
into Apollo House, however the Government has this political and
economic obsession about the market forecast solving everything."

IRLDeptFinance has just issued this


response to the @HSHIreland
petition presented this lunchtime
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has defended the Government's approach to
dealing with the homeless crisis.

Latest figures show there are over 6,500 people 'officially homeless'
in Ireland.

The number of families becoming homeless has increased by over


40% since last year and children now make up one in three of those
in emergency accommodation.
A recent iReach survey found that 88% of respondents believed that
Irish charities help the homeless more than the Government.

Enda Kenny said that the issue is not just about finding someone a
bed, it's about providing them with vital services.

"We think we've struck a nerve on the other side,"


"And we're living in terror, at least I know Glen [Hansard] is, because
when he talks to me out the privacy of his heart, we say: 'What is
anything goes wrong?'.
"We're sitting there as public figures and we're thinking: 'I hope
nobody ODs or somebody brings in drugs - anything can go wrong.

"We've got to run the perfect place, and nobody's capable of doing
that."

The Merchants Quay Ireland Night Caf says it will provide sleeping
resources to Dublin's homeless for as long as it's needed.

It's been responding tonight to reports that the caf doesn't provide
an adequate response to people sleeping rough on the streets and
should close.

CEO Tony Geoghan says it's clearly not ideal but it's a preferable
option to leaving people on the streets.
"Anybody that's homeless should have access to a bed in a safe and
dignified setting, obviously the State has responsibility in that regard
and there is a plan in place.

"In the meantime, there is increasing numbers of people becoming


homeless and people are sleeping on the streets, and while that is
the case it is most preferable that they are in a safe and secure
environment and that's at the core of what the Night Caf is about."


The Receivers for Apollo House, taken over by homeless
campaigners last week, have applied to the High Court to have them
removed.

The building, which had been vacant, is being occupied by a group


calling themselves Home Sweet Home, and 35 homeless people.

In a statement this afternoon, receiver Tom OBrien said the building


was not fit for such a purpose, and was a danger to what he called
the illegal occupants as the fire insurance has run out.
Mr. Justice Paul Gilligan gave them permission to serve notice of
their application before 3.30pm this afternoon.

The case is due to return before him tomorrow morning.

Dublin City Council says it will open up 210 new beds in Dublin city
centre this week.

Campaigner with Home Sweet Home, Rosie Leonard says their


primary concern is the residents in Apollo House.

She said: "Our primary concern at the moment is to make sure this is
a home for those who are inside and put them first, they are our
priority, everything else comes second.

"We will be contacting the receivers in due course, we are very keen
to meet them.

"As for the court summons, we plan to continue as normal, and I


suppose we will deal with everything as they present themselves."

Home Sweet Home hope to have enough beds, running water,


kitchen, toilet and shower facilities and heat and light to put up
about 60 people.
Apollo House was owned by Shelbourne Developments. That
company had receivers Tom O'Brien and Simon Coyle of Mazars
appointed after their loans on the property were transferred to
Nama.

In the midst of the occupation, Mazars secured planning permission


from Dublin City Council to demolish Apollo House and build a new
office block up to 52m high.

Poolbeg Street was closed for some time as musicians backing the
occupation put on impromptu performances in front of hundreds of
supporters.
Update 1.50pm: The owners of Apollo House have said they will go
to the courts to resolve the sit-in at their premises in Dublin "in the
best interests of those currently in occupation" there.

The office building on Tara Street in the city is currently being


occupied by housing activists and homeless people.

Through a statement released by the receivers to Apollo House, the


owners have said that their "concern has been the health and safety
of the homeless people" and they claim that they "have tried to meet
with Home Sweet Home", the organisers of the sit-in, in order to
arrange the transfer of those within the building "to appropriate
accommodation".
Follow

Glen Hansard
@Glen_Hansard
The Owners of Apollo House are "worried about the health
and safety of those staying in Apollo House"'
3:41 AM - 20 Dec 2016
550 550 Retweets897 897 likes

The statement from the receiver Tom OBrien, of Mazars, also said
that they "have on a number of occasions sought to meet with them
but to date, Home Sweet Home have not made themselves available
to meet with us."

They also said that they met with Dublin City Council and homeless
charities as soon as they heard about the occupation of Apollo
House.

Dublin City Council last night gave the green light to plans to
demolish Apollo House.

However, they concluded that "in the event that cooperation is not
immediately forthcoming", they have "no option but to take the only
responsible course available and look for assistance from the courts".

Statement from Tom OBrien, Mazars, Receivers to Apollo House, in


full

"Since becoming aware last Friday of the occupation of Apollo House


by representatives of Home Sweet Home Coalition, as Receivers our
immediate priority and concern has been the health and safety of the
homeless people seeking shelter there. While we endorse the
importance of highlighting the need for providing shelter to the
homeless and the most vulnerable in society, the provision of such
sheltered accommodation must be done in an organised, structured
and sustainable manner. That is not possible in Apollo House.

"We immediately engaged with Dublin City Council and homeless


charities who provide shelter and care to the homeless with a view
to ensuring that appropriate alternative accommodation, with the
necessary facilities and staff, would be available to those who might
seek shelter in Apollo House. All homeless charities recognise as a
fundamental principle that shelter accommodation must be staffed
by trained and properly resourced care professionals in order to
create as safe and controlled an environment as possible.

"Apollo House is a commercial premises which was closed down in


2015 due to its poor condition, pending redevelopment. We share
the views of the homeless agencies that the building is completely
unsuitable for residential use and lacks the most basic facilities
needed by those who are homeless. Notwithstanding the efforts by
Home Sweet Home to provide these basic facilities, the building
simply does not meet the requirements for a sustainable, safe
physical and caring environment.

View image on Twitter


Follow

Mick Caul @caulmick


Apollo House : A highly organised act of civil disobedience
against onslaught of austerity
http://www.
irishexaminer.com/ireland/act-of
-highly-organised-civil-disobedience-and-humanity-
435818.html
#HomeSweetHome #todaysor
8:25 AM - 19 Dec 2016
134 134 Retweets151 151 likes

"Another very significant issue is that this illegal occupation of


Apollo House has resulted in the loss of fire insurance cover for the
building which poses an immediate and significant risk to the
occupants and to neighbouring property and occupiers. As the
Receivers to Apollo House we cannot responsibly allow this situation
to remain.

"Dublin City Council has confirmed that they expect 210 new beds to
become available this week in three city centre facilities. These
facilities are run by homeless agencies who provide not just beds but
a full professional support service comprising professional care,
medical and counselling staff along with access to public health
nurses. Dublin City Council has agreed to work with these housing
agencies so that all those sheltering in Apollo House can be
accommodated in these facilities.

"Our overriding concern is for the health and safety of those who are
homeless currently staying in Apollo House. The Receivers have tried
to meet with Home Sweet Home in order to organise a move of
those in Apollo House to appropriate accommodation with the full
support services provided. We call on those behind Home Sweet
Home to act responsibly and work with Dublin City Council to
immediately end the current occupation in the best interests of
those who are staying there.

"We have tried to engage constructively with those involved and


have on a number of occasions sought to meet with them but to
date, Home Sweet Home have not made themselves available to
meet with us.

"The situation at Apollo House cannot be allowed to continue


indefinitely for the reasons mentioned. In the event that cooperation
is not immediately forthcoming, as the Receivers to Apollo House we
have no option but to take the only responsible course available and
look for assistance from the courts in seeking to resolve this issue in
the best interests of those currently in occupation at Apollo House."

Update 11.30am: Leading homelessness campaigner Fr Peter


McVerry has said the occupation of Apollo House in Dublin is an
embarrassment for the Government.

Dublin City Council has given the green light to plans to demolish
the office building on Tara Street as part of a 50m redevelopment
of the area.

Fr Peter McVerry says the activists behind the initiative have been
able to do what several housing agencies have been unable to
achieve. He added that, while it will not solve the crisis, it has put
pressure on the relevant authorities to do more.

"They have seriously embarrassed the Governmentwho have to


bring forward an explanation as to why (the occupation) isn't a
reasonable thing to do. And the Government cant do that," he said.

"They are putting the Government under great pressure to up their


game and address the problem of homelessness in a much more
urgent manner than they are doing."
Earlier:
Dublin City Council has given the green light to plans to demolish
Apollo House.

The office building on Tara Street in the city is currently being


occupied by housing activists and homeless people.

The site is part of a 50m plan for redevelopment of the area.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that while the occupation of the
site would not solve the homeless crisis, it was a step in the right
direction.

"It's right and appropriate the artist community are standing up and
saying we need to change our ways so everyone can live in this
cityIt's impossible to live at the moment. You cant rent here.

"(The Apollo House occupation) is a symbolic step, but an important


step to say we need to be doing more.
The Dublin-based charity the Peter McVerry Trust is opening two
new housing units in Limerick today as part of a 2.5m investment
over the next 12 months.

It is the first time in the charity's 37-year history that the trust is
reaching out and responding to the needs of the homeless outside
the capital.

The trust's chief executive Pat Doyle said it brought to five the
number of keys handed over in Limerick this week.

"That's five people no longer called homeless, but rather a tenant of


the Peter McVerry Trust," he said.

"We intend to do that to 10 more in the first quarter of next year.


And we're hoping by this time next year, we'll have 30 units in
Limerick and will have taken 30 people out of homelessness for
good."

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust at the charitys new regional
office in Limerick.
Nama lawyers issue order to vacate Apollo House
Lawyers representing Nama have issued an order to vacate Apollo
House, after it was occupied by activists who converted it into
emergency accommodation for the homeless.

The group which is occupying the building on Dublin's Tara Street


says vacant properties owned by the State agency should be used to
house the homeless. They renamed Apollo House 'Home Sweet
Home'.

Rosi Leonard from the Irish Housing Network, gave her reaction to
the order issued to them to leave.

She said: "It seems obscene that Nama isnt being utilised to help
prevent the (homelessness) crisis.

"Our main concern is ending the homelessness crisis. As to how we


proceed on that, it remains to be seen
inger Glen Hansard spoke passionately tonight about his role in
taking over Nama-owned Apollo House in Dublin city centre for use
as a homeless shelter.

The Oscar winning singer-songwriter was on The Late Late Show to


perform with the RT Orchestra and afterwards spoke to host Ryan
Tubridy about his involvement with the Home Sweet Home group
and 'Operation Nama'.

Home Sweet Home has occupied Apollo House on Tara Street in


Dublin city centre with the intention of accommodating the
homeless. To loud cheers from The Late Late Show audience,
Hansard confirmed the group was occupying the Nama-owned
building illegally.
Follow

The Late Late Show

@RTELateLateShow
We are involved in an act of civil disobedience
@Glen_Hansard tells The #LateLate Show
#HomeSweetHome #OccupyNama
10:15 PM - 16 Dec 2016
708 708 Retweets1,032 1,032 likes

We are involved in an act of civil disobedience, he said.

I call upon the very spirit of the Irish people to look at this, it is an
illegal act. We have taken a building that essentially belongs to the
people of Ireland and that has been lying empty.

The Government will shelter 200 people this Christmas and theres
260 people between the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal in Dublin.
Now this is not only a Dublin issue but between the Royal Canal and
the Grand Canal there are 260 people tonight homeless.

What we would like to do is bridge the gap Well be asking people


to volunteer, well be asking people to get behind the idea. It is a
radical idea.
Asked what the response would be if the group are told by the
authorities to vacate the building, Hansard said: You appeal to the
better nature of the Government and Nama.

This is a NAMA-owned building. If everybody pays tax in this


audience, if anyone knows their stuff they know that that is
essentially our building. We are just going to take it for a few
months.

The action came about through conversations with different artists,


singers and friends over the year, he told Tubridy.

Apollo House where a group of campaigners have taken over a


vacant building in Dublin city. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

I found myself part of a group of people who are essentially


concerned citizens and we wondered is there a way that we could
stage an intervention on our own behalf, he said.

So I find myself now part of group called Home Sweet Home. It is a


group of artists, a group of friends, a group of people that we know
and love. Like minded souls. Jim Sheridan Andrew Hozier, Saoirse
Ronan, Christy Moore.
What we are trying to do is get a national conversation started, he
said.

This should be a national emergency... The homelessness is at a


level now, not since the Famine have families been homeless like
they are right now. It is really, really difficult.


Garda have released a statement saying they were called to an
incident at Tara Street at approximately 12.30am this morning.

They said a number of people had moved into a property, reportedly


Apollo House, and they said the incident was 'peaceful'.

Garda are no longer at the scene, but are liasing closely with the
parties involved.
Apollo House was formerly used by the Department of Social
Protection, but was vacated last year.

The Irish Housing Network says it led the action at the NAMA owned
building to provide accommodation for the city's homeless.
WATCH: Inside Apollo House, Thursday at 10pm on TV3
#ApolloHouse #HomeSweetHome
https://www.facebook.com/TVThreeIreland/videos/101544951
44349538/
Why are the questions put forward not been answered? I asked the
following on the 24th of January. It is now past mid February and the
following has gone unanswered! I'd like to know, who set up home sweet
home officially? Not just the Facebook page because there are several
HSH pages from around the world. But the whole thing who set it up to
do the take over of apollo house? Was it one person or a group of
people? Who set up the account to collect donations? Who is the
trustees in hold of donations? Who chose the trustees? who's name is
the account in? What bank is been used? Will all reminder of donations
go directly into helping only homeless people and not to be paying fees
of any kind for non homeless people ? are any of the donation going
towards charities who pay six figure salaries? I strongly believe the
donations should only be used towards getting someone off the streets
by way of hotel accommodation, b&b accommodation. You can also help
those that are sleeping rough to make a transition into long term
accommodation by paying deposit & 2/3 months rent. The idea of apollo
house was to give access to those who sleep rough or couldn't get a bed
for people to feel safe and I very strongly believe it should be still used
for rough sleepers and NOT handed over to any charity who pays
salaries into the hundreds of thousands. If any monies were used for
anything else other than funding and sorcing things directly for the
homeless will these monies be returned for the purpose they where
given in the first place?? As a former homeless man and someone who
donated and got friends and family to support I am very disappointed
these questions have went unanswered

Donations needed for


Apollo House
HOME SWEET HOME EIRETUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2016
Thank you so much for your generosity to date. People
have been great to us and we appreciate it very much.

We have a call out for these specific donations at the


moment:

2 x security cameras which can be chest mounted with


night vision
4 x desktops/laptop computers that are compatible
with current Microsoft Office
1 x small safe
1 x small lockbox
16 square meters of tiles (any colour)
- tile cement
- grout
- sliced pan bread
- milk - either full or low fat milk

If you can help us, please Private Message us on


Facebook and well get back to you.

At the moment, we are not able to accept general


donations of food, clothing or furniture but you can
send us a Private Message with details and we will get
back to you.
Thank you very much!


Glen_Hansard @DamoDempsey
#HomeSweetHome by Christian Tierney

I had the pleasure of serving at Apollo House on Christmas
Day alongside Glen, who was kind enough to give up his
Christmas Day (after also giving up his Christmas Eve for
busking) to sing and play for the residents. Such a nice guy
too.





On his time volunteering with Apollo house, Dar says:

" I volunteered in Apollo because I have a soft solution for the


homeless from working with them over the years and the
inaction by successive governments to deal with the crisis.I
worked as a key worker, support worker,, Needle exchange
worker and outreach for merchants Quay and a support
worker in D. R.O.P in Dunlaoghaire.

My favourite moment was at watching the crowds below with


the residents, some who were crying and one turned to me
and said, I didn't think that many people cared, you could have
changed my life here, you have given me a chance and gave
me a big hug. "
Eamon ..showing Solidarity with Tesco.Staff in Greystones county Wicklow
to day

Nobody, absolutely nobody of working class stock should pass a workers


Piquet, to do is supporting management who want to trod on rights that
were hard earned by our great grandparents. If these people get their
way workers would have little pay and no rights. So think before you go
in to Track telling yourself "I'm only buying a newspaper etc" Don't go in
Don't let down our own
incredible- here's how some of the money donated was used to
ensure that not only were people safe over the 28 day occupation
of Apollo House, but they were warm, fed, and supported to a
level that government and council said was "unfairly raising
expectations".
Over 90 people stayed in Apollo House over 28 days. This was an
action taken to save lives and restore the notion that dignity,
security and safety are not too much to ask for in the Ireland of
2017. Our campaign to end homelessness is ongoing and new
housing action groups have sprung up around the country in the
last 6 weeks. Thanks for your support - it's only the beginning.
Almost 200,000 donated to Home Sweet Home in
six weeks
Group aims to be a permanent, citizens intervention in the homelessness
crisis
IRISHTIMES.COM

Poll: Do you think the Apollo House occupation was a success?


http://www.thejournal.ie/apollo-house-poll-3222539-Feb2017/

Poll: Do you think the Apollo House occupation was


a success?
Legal proceedings formally ended yesterday.
Those homeless in Dublin city are required to ring a freephone
number to access a hostel. They are allocated a bed for the
night, then have to leave the next morning.
The system is dysfunctional.
We spoke to people attending the Fighting for
Humanity:HOMELESSNESS street outreach at Dublin's GPO on
January 18th. Here are their testimonies. These are their
experiences.
We continue to ask the question - why is the system that
homeless people depend on so damaged? Echoing the Dublin
Inquirer article we shared earlier, and the work that Inner City
Helping Homeless have been doing in sharing how many of the
people they talk to do not want to access emergency
accommodation, we are sharing these powerful, personal
stories to educate, to advocate and to inform.
The system is broken. Can we fix it?
Thank you to Ally Courlander-Whelan and those at the
Fighting for Humanity Soup Run and especially those who
shared their story with us.

The return of direct action. Notes on Home Sweet Home

Over the last month, strong attention in Irish public debate has concerned the
dramatically deteriorating housing conditions of an increasing number of
people in the country, especially in the main cities. Launched by a variegated
network of activists and groups, the Home Sweet Home campaign has been
centred around the occupation of a vacant building owned by NAMA in the
city centre of Dublin to give a shelter to homeless people who experience on a
daily basis the serious lacks of the Irish welfare system in relation to housing.
Solidarity towards the campaign has rapidly spread in the city (with more
than a thousand of people volunteering in the project) and all around the
country. I here do not want to account for the actions and strategies occurred
up to last week when the building was evacuated following a courts
injunction; my aim is to stress the political importance of the Home Sweet
Home campaign since it brought back direct action in Irish political arena.
The main political aim of Home Sweet Home is to give a grassroots-led
response to the housing crisis, an idea full of political ambivalence. In fact
the housing crisis has been recently invoked and used by the Irish
government to support new supply-centred measures, thus guaranteeing
conspicuous profits for developers. However such specious rhetoric collides
with the material constraints of thousands of households who struggle to pay
the rent or are in arrears with their mortgage; quoting David Madden and
Peter Marcuse, we see how the state of their housing is critical indeed (2016:
11). So the direct action promoted by the Home Sweet Home campaign
represents a response by those whose lives are severely conditioned by the
housing crisis.

Direct action in housing through squatting vacant buildings is a long-standing


political practice in Europe which has been traditionally associated by social
and political scientists to several positive consequences for transformative
politics, such as the experience of direct-democratic decision-making, and the
prefiguration of another mode of organizing society through the challenge of
private property rights and the power of making profit (exchange value) over
material needs (use value). More recently the squatting of vacant buildings
has re-appeared in southern Europe (where is has a strong social and political
tradition), notably in Italy and Spain.
Spain represents a particularly relevant case for the Irish audience since the
events leading to the housing crisis there echo what happened in Ireland
with the boom and the burst of the bubble. Following a massive wave of
evictions and foreclosures (made easy by a very punitive mortgage law) all
around Spain, mortgaged lives (to quote the powerful concept introduced in
a text edited by the current mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, a former
spokesman of the PAH) soon started to organize to give a response to such a
dramatic trend: the Plataforma de los Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) was
created in Barcelona in 2009 and rapidly spread all around the Spanish
country (currently counting more than 200 nodes).
For sure one of the main strategies leading to the success of the PAH has been
its ability to cope with difference both in terms of people involved and
repertoire of action, combining practices borrowed from anticapitalist/radical
autonomy (e.g squatting of vacant buildings owned by financial institutions)
with reformist practices (e.g. negotiating with banks, appealing the Spanish
mortgage law in courts). Urban scholar Sophie Gonick has defined this
encounter between different visions/perspectives realized by the PAH as
agonistic engagement. Here the point is not to review all the different
strategies and successes of the PAH, but emphasize how such agonistic
engagement (deeply embedded in direct action in the form of blocking
evictions or occupying buildings) has determined a double shift:
in public discourse/popular narratives around the housing crisis,
challenging those discourses/narratives blaming evicted/foreclosed people as
irresponsible;
in the material living conditions of thousands of people who got their
eviction blocked or obtained new social housing agreements thanks to the
direct action of the PAH.

PAH activists occupying a bank


While I do not believe in the possibility of simply imitating/replicating what
done by the PAH because it is the result of contextual factors and practices, I
think it is important to keep it as a source of inspiration and reference for a
campaign such as Home Sweet Home and for all those activists who struggle
everyday for a more inclusive and equal system in which basic needs/rights
(like housing) are acknowledged and defended.
Direct action like the re-appropriation of a vacant building destined to real
estate speculation and private profit is important because it sheds lights on
the political possibilities that we have here right now: while formal
institutions are completely trapped in market/profit-centred
measures/rationalities and some critical voices continue to call for a massive
public intervention in the housing sector through new social housing
construction, Home Sweet Home has unveiled another political possibility
centred around re-appropriation, peoples engagement and the opposition to
the power of non-transparent institutions serving private profit instead of
promoting public wealth.
Of course the path initiated by Home Sweet Home is still new and will have to
face a massive resistance from the part of conservative institutions (and the
legal system developed to serve the interests of those in power and preserve
the status quo). However direct action is able to create among those involved a
passionate awareness and hope in the possibility of change, shaping new
political subjects who do not see themselves anymore as passive receipts of
the decisions made over their lives but are ready to create new worlds centred
around solidarity, inclusion, respect, redistribution and mutual care.
Cesare Di Feliciantonio
Cesare Di Feliciantonio is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of
Geography Trinity College Dublin. His work lies at the intersection of
social/urban geography, political economy, housing studies and urban studies
with a focus on neoliberal subjectification and its contestations.
There is still time to use NAMA to do what it should have been used to do
from the outset- to help heal the scars of the crash and austerity and the
injustices of the bailouts.
Yesterday (3rd of January) at 12 noon the HomeSweetHome campaign
marched from Apollo House to hand in a letter and petition to the Minister for
Finance, Michael Noonan, calling on him to direct NAMA to use its property
assets to address the homelessness and housing crisis.
The government and NAMA have been trying to hide from the public the
significant role that NAMA could be playing in addressing the housing crisis.
But the Apollo action means there is no more hiding for NAMA and the
government.
This article provides a detailed overview and analysis of why and how NAMA
should be used to address the housing crisis. A number of these points are
included in the HomeSweetHome letter to the Minister.
While myself and other academics and housing activists have been making the
case about NAMA for a number of years it has taken the innovative and
inspiring Apollo House action to bring widespread public attention to this.
And it has become even more urgent as the homelessness crisis continues to
worsen. The latest monthly figures show that there are now 1,205 families,
with 2,549 children, living in emergency accommodation in Ireland.
These figures how that the occupation of the vacant NAMA building, Apollo
House, and its transformation into safe and secure accommodation for
homeless people is the correct, and socially just, thing to do in order to get
public and political attention focused on our housing and homelessness crisis
which is a national humanitarian emergency.
The figures show that the the dismissive criticisms made recently by various
politicians and Dublin City Council officials about Apollo House are wrong.
Those comments are part of an-going attempt to undermine the massive
groundswell of public support for the HomeSweetHome action.
This truth is the core injustice of NAMA itself it is a truth that government
and NAMA officials have attempted to hide from the Irish people.
The NAMA injustice is that NAMA is a state (i.e. belongs to me and you)
agency that has the buildings, land and finance that is being used to enrich
wealthy property investors rather than being used to end a homelessness
crisis that sees hundreds forced to sleep on our streets and thousands of
homeless families and children traumatised living in emergency
accommodation.
The central problem with NAMA is that senior NAMA officials (operating
under direction from the Minister of Finance) have prioritised NAMAs
purpose outlined in Section 10 of the NAMA Act 2009 which is to obtain the
best achieveable financial return for the state.

The problem with this is that while it might appear that NAMA is maximising
the commercial return to the state and taxpayer, it is in fact playing a major
role in worsening the housing crisis and thus adding to the economic and
social costs of dealing with the housing crisis.
NAMA has sold off loans, land and property to foreign vulture funds who have
evicted tenants and raised rents to unaffordable levels.
Most disgracefully NAMA has sold development land (sites) to investors that
had the potential for up to 20,000 housing units. However, just 1,100 (5%) of
these have been built or are under construction. The investors have hoarded
the land, waiting for (and contributing to) housing prices to rise.
NAMAs current approach is thus worsening the housing crisis and resulting
in a significant cost to the state through the necessity for increased spending
on homeless accommodation and private rental schemes such as RAS, HAP
etc.
It also means that there is no guarantee that the sale of its land and assets will
be used in the provision of affordable housing (or other uses). In all likelihood
in the current market financiers are purchasing them to hoard and accrue
value before resale in future years rather than redevelopment.
As I wrote in an opinion piece published in the Irish Times on NAMA in 2014:
By pushing for maximum commercial returns, Nama is working against the
interests of those looking for an affordable and secure home. It is continuing
the speculative-asset approach to housing that fuelled the crisis. This
promotes residential property as a commodity rather than a social good.
Nama is facilitating a massive transfer of wealth created by the Irish people
to foreign and domestic capitalist investors.
But Section 2 of the NAMA Act 2009 states that NAMAs mandate is to
contribute to the social and economic development of the State.
So why is this not NAMAs priority?
Furthermore, under the provisions of section 14 of the NAMA Act the Minister
for Finance has the power to issue a direction to NAMA.
The Minister Finance could, therefore, as part of converting NAMA into an
affordable housing agency, direct NAMA to prioritise its Social Mandate
(section 2) over its commercial maximising mandate (Section 10) in all of its
operations. Also this Social Mandate should be made to include the
prioritisation of the delivery of social and affordable housing.
The Minister should then direct NAMA to sell its property related assets in
Ireland (loans relating to land and residential property and holdings of
property and land) to local authorities, housing co-operatives, community
land and housing trusts, and housing associations rather than vulture funds
and REITs.
NAMA should also use the 6000 residential units currently in its possession to
house homeless and people off the housing waiting lists as these units become
vacant.
Most importantly, NAMA is planning to build (finance and develop) 20,000
houses by 2020 and 90 % of these are to be in the greater Dublin area).
However, the only legal obligation on NAMA is to provide 10% of these units
for social housing.
Furthermore, while NAMA states that these units will be starter homes, at
market rates they will be out of reach for many first-time buyers. In 2017
3,500 of these are expected to be built (2,500 are already under construction
in the Dublin area). A third of these units- 1,100 of these units should be
used to house all families who are currently living in emergency
accommodation, such as hotels and B and B, in Dublin.
Such accommodation is totally unsuited to their needs and particularly those
of children who may suffer lasting damage from such accommodation.
It should be noted that NAMA has provided around 2000 social housing units
to date. In fact, local authorities have been offered 6,635 units by NAMA e.g.
over 800 houses were offered to Dublin City Council but only were 400 taken
up, largely because of insufficient funding being made available to local
authorities by government and issues relating to over concentration of social
housing in certain areas.
The Minister for Environment, should immediately direct local authorities to
take up all NAMA offers of social housing and that these will be funded and
sanctioned by his Department.
Furthermore, NAMA could build tens of thousands of additional homes on its
own and local authority land through the use of its cash reserves and delaying
the repayment of its remaining debt. NAMA has already paid off 81 per cent of
its debt of 31 billion (25 billion), so that only 5 billion remains to be
repaid.
Currently the Minister Finance and NAMA are planning to pay down the
remainder by 2020 and Michael Noonan, has repeatedly defended NAMAs
maximising of the commercial return from the sale of its land and buildings
in order to pay back this debt as soon as possible.
But that timeframe is arbitrarily set by NAMA and the Minister for Finance.
NAMA can fulfil its commercial mandate and pay down the debt just over a
longer time frame through the development of affordable housing schemes
using its cash reserves and ability to raise low interest finance to fund
development.
This can be staged over a longer time frame than that currently fixed. For
example, NAMA could fund through its cash reserves and lending to local
authorities and housing associations the building of upwards of 50,000
affordable (affordable homes for broad range of income groups through social
rental, cost rental and affordable purchase) housing units in coming years
using NAMA and other state land.
The 50,000 figure is based on 20,000 units on NAMA land and using NAMAs
cash reserves and other assets at a cost of 500 million per 10,000 units of
affordable housing and 1bn per 6000 public/social units.
This would save the State a substantial proportion of the 100 million annual
expenditure in emergency accommodation and hundreds of millions more
euro on various social housing schemes in the private rental sector.
So if NAMA, for example, provided 20,000 social and affordable units, it
could save the State at least 1 billion over five years, and at least 2 billion
over ten years (this would increase if 50,000 units were built), which equates
to the return NAMA is supposed to provide to the taxpayer anyway.
Furthermore, this approach would provide a longer term rental income
stream and housing assets to the State, and would address the humanitarian
disaster of homelessness and the social and economic costs of the wider
housing crisis. NAMA has already developed a model for doing this using its
NARPS special purpose vehicle, and is building some social and affordable
housing across the country, although at very low numbers.
But there is still time to use NAMA to do what it should have been used to do
from the outset- to help heal the scars of the crash and austerity and the
injustices of the bailouts.
It could do this by contributing to the social recovery through social and
affordable housing provision for the Irish people rather than fuelling the
economic recovery of the already wealthy global and Irish investors.
As I wrote in 2014:
When our financial system was in peril there was no obstacle too large for
the State to overcome. Now we face an equivalent crisis in housing needs. It
is legitimate to ask why the same radical approach is not applied to the
housing crisis. It appears the Government is unwilling to stand up to the
financial and property investors.
The Receivers appointed by the NAMA to Apollo House obtained an
injunction from the High Court directing the occupiers to vacate the premises
by noon January 11 2017. The effect of this is that at least 40 people, currently
housed at Apollo House, will be rendered homeless and forced to live on the
streets.
In the coming days a lot of public support is required to convert this brave
citizens act into an unstoppable movement for a right to an affordable and
secure home for all in Ireland.
You can start by signing the HomeSweetHome Open Letter to Michael
Noonan, demanding he use NAMAs resources to help end the homelessness
crisis.
The governments new Social Housing Strategy correctly identifies the
underfunding of the provision of social housing and rising rents in the private
sector as the principal causes underlying the current housing crisis.
Unfortunately it continues this underfunding as the 2015 social housing
budget will be just half of what it was in 2008. Furthermore, the Strategy
failed to radically reform NAMA, which is the largest housing agency and
property developer in the state. This leaves a fundamental contradiction in
housing policy.
While the government expresses a strong concern to address the 90,000
households on the waiting lists it is, at the same time, actively encouraging
NAMA to sell off its residential and land assets in the form of packaged
portfolios of property, at the highest possible price, to international and Irish
capital investors. The Strategy did not alter NAMAs primary objective to
achieve a maximum commercial return to the state. The uncomfortable truth
is that those who will benefit most from current government housing policy,
and NAMA in particular, are international wealthy investors and banks,
developers and landlords and not the ordinary Irish people who have paid
dearly for the write downs on development loans transferred to NAMA.
The reality is that NAMA is playing a significant role in worsening the housing
crisis through its sale of assets to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). The
government encouraged the setting up of Irish based REITs in 2012 through
generous tax breaks. Irish REITs are being set up to take advantage of high
yield returns from investment in the recovering Irish property market. One
newly formed REIT is the Irish Residential Properties which includes large
property investors from Canada and finance from the UK based Barclays
bank. Another REIT, Hibernia, has billionaire investor George Soros funds
amongst their shareholders. Irish Residential Properties bought the Orange
portfolio from NAMA for 211m which included 716 residential apartments in
Dublin. NAMA advertised that the portfolio would provide a residential rental
income of 10.6m and significant rental growth potential over the near and
longer term. Selling to such investors with this expected rate of return will
clearly provide a huge upward pressure on residential rents in the coming
years.
NAMA is also likely to have a major influence on the residential property
market through its intention to provide over 22,000 units in Dublin (half of
expected demand in Dublin) and surrounding counties by 2019 through the
use of existing units and 1,500 hectares of development land. It is doing this
through partnerships with developers including the provision of at least 1bn
in finance. However, the objective to ensure a maximum commercial return
means that NAMA will make certain these units are sold at the highest
possible price thus inflating prices further.
Although we dont hear much about it, NAMA has a mandate to contribute to
the social and economic development of the State. It achieves this through its
provision of social housing yet only 736 units have been delivered. The new
Housing Strategy includes an expansion of NAMAs Special Purpose Vehicle
(SPV) set up to sell or lease NAMA residential properties for social housing
but only plans to deliver 2,250 units by 2020.
NAMAs current trajectory is wrong if we want to develop a sustainable
economy and society. Its need for rental growth is likely to be one of the
reasons the government is refusing to give private tenants (who are the
majority of those on social housing waiting lists) relief through the
introduction of rent controls. By pushing for maximum commercial returns
NAMA is working against the interests of those looking for an affordable and
secure home. It is continuing the speculative asset approach to housing that
fuelled the crisis. This promotes residential property as a commodity rather
than a social good that is developed primarily to meet peoples housing needs.
NAMA is facilitating a massive transfer of wealth (income) created by the Irish
people to foreign and domestic capitalist investors. It exemplifies all that is
wrong with the current model of financial neoliberal capitalism. Rather than
investing in the real economy and social requirements it is promoting
speculative finance. The result is rising inequality and a more unstable system.
The legacy of socializing the costs of the banking crisis in Ireland has been
widespread social devastation. NAMA is embedding this for decades to come.
But the government can still reorientate NAMA to play a key role in
addressing the housing crisis. It could genuinely expand NAMAs SPV by
transferring the majority of NAMAs residential development units and land
into it. NAMA could then provide 15,000 social housing and 7000 low-cost
rented units managed by housing associations by 2020. These could be
excellently planned, environmentally sustainable and model community
developments in areas such as the 25 acre Glass Bottle Site in Ringsend. Such
a social stimulus could help repair some of the societal damage caused during
the crisis. If this means NAMA doesnt make a profit it is important to
highlight that those most affected by that will be the private (mainly
international) investors who own fifty one percent of NAMAs shares.
Furthermore, NAMA was also set up so that if it makes a loss a surcharge can
be introduced on the profits of the financial institutions.
When our financial system was in peril there was no obstacle too large for our
political establishment and the state to overcome. Now we face an equivalent
crisis in terms of the fundamental housing needs and rights of hundreds of
thousands of our citizens. It is legitimate to ask why the same radical
approach that determinedly did whatever was needed to be done is not
applied to the housing crisis. It appears it is because the government is
unwilling to stand up to the financial and property investors and transform
the residential property market into a system to meet housing needs.
The Rebuilding Ireland Plan has allocated insufficient funding, is
manipulating the use of the term social housing and misleading people with
its promises
The government has been responding to the Apollo House action by stating
that dealing with the housing crisis is its number one priority and that their
housing plan, Rebuilding Ireland, will address the crisis through the
investment of 5bn in a truly ambitious social housing programme of 47,000
units to 2021.
Minister Coveney claims that Theres a real acceleration happening here in
terms of delivery and has stated that there will be more than 21,000 social
housing solutions provided in 2017. With Budget 2017 providing for a very
significant increase in housing funding (of 1.3 billion).
But the Ministers figures and the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Action plan just
dont add up.
The graph above is the forecast provision of social housing in the Rebuilding
Ireland Plan from 2016-2021. But in this you see that the new construction of
social housing (represented by dark blue shade at the bottom) is only a very
small proportion of the overall 100,000 social housing units to be provided
over the next 5 years.
The majority of social housing is in fact not new build social housing at all
but are various housing support schemes provided through the private rented
sector such as the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental
Accommodation Scheme.
These social housing solutions (as the Ministers refers to, note change of
language from new build housing units to solutions) are temporary, do not
provide tenants with security of tenure and most importantly do not increase
the much needed supply of real permanent social housing homes.
The schemes such as RAS and HAP have not met their delivery targets due to
lack of availability of private rental housing (thus the governments social
housing strategy also exacerbates the rental crisis as it is taking supply from
a sector that requires greater supply a third of all tenancies are state funded
social housing schemes.These should not be classified as social housing as it is
not providing a secure form of tenancy).
Of course the HAP schemes suit government because they can reduce the
housing waiting lists and make it appear as if the housing crisis is being dealt
with also while subsidising private landlords and avoiding allocating the
necessary increase in funding to government/local authority state provision of
affordable housing.
The Rebuilding Ireland Quarterly Review published in November gave the
first official figures for what is represented in the graph above and breaks
down the 47,000 new social housing units figure.
This outlines that of the 47,000 social housing units by 2021:
It is expected that 26,000 units will be built (construction, voids, Part V)
exclusively for social housing
11,000 will be acquired (by LA, AHB & HA) from the market
And 10,000 units will be leased by LAs and AHBs this will be a mix of units
from the existing housing stock and newly-built units
Now the key figure here is the new build one because this provides additional
housing supply. This is particularly important in Dublin, the commuter
counties and other large cities (Galway, Cork) which need new units built and
do not have the same vacancy level as other parts of the country. So the actual
figure for new build social housing units is 26,000 units (just over half the
headline 47,000 figure).
Now as is mentioned this also includes bringing local authority voids back into
use and new housing built under Part V (the 10% social housing provided in
large private housing developments). But Part V delivered just 65 units in
2015 (but 286 were in progress).
Given that Part V delivered 3,246 units in 2007 (4.5% of total 71,000 private
units delivered), and that was when Part V was 20% of all developments
which has since been reduced to 10% (but developers could pay cash to the
local authority in lieu of the units and this is no longer available), then using
the same percentage, then on the basis of 25,000 private units per annum,
Part V is likely to deliver no more than 1,250 units per annum in the coming
years.
That brings the 26,000 new builds down to 24,750.
It was also estimated that 800 local authority voids would be brought back
into use in 2017 so taking that away it leaves us with 23,950 new real social
housing units planned to be built between now and 2021: which is 3,991 units
per annum.
At that rate of delivery it would take 22 years to house all those of the current
social housing waiting lists (90,000 households) into real permanent social
housing homes.
How can that, in any way, be deemed an acceptable time frame of delivery to
address the crisis? Particularly given that housing need is increasing
significantly.
So what about the increase in the allocation in social housing investment in
Budget 2017? The total exchequer Housing allocation in 2017 will be 1.2
billion up from 814million in 2016.
However this is the same trick the main increase is on temporary social
housing through the private rental sector. Current (mainly spent on private
rental sector schemes and leasing from private sector) increases from 382m
to 566m while capital expenditure (includes new building and purchase of
permanent social housing) only increased by an additional 150 million from
432m in 2016 to 655m in 2017.
But the housing capital budget appears also includes 50m for an
infrastructure fund for local authorities to enable the development of private
sites for housing, the payment for previous social housing already built by
housing associations, the mortgage to rent scheme, urban regeneration, 70m
for retrofitting existing social housing stock, 45 million for grants for private
housing and funding for schemes such as the Pyrite Remediation Scheme. So
while we dont have an exact figure we can see that the actual budget
allocation for new building (and purchase) of social housing is certainly under
400 million.
Therefore, the social housing units outlined in the Rebuilding Ireland plan are
in fact largely various forms of private sector and privatised housing delivery.
They are dependent on various forms of private financing, off-balance sheet
mechanisms, Public Private Partnerships, acquisition from the private market
and delivery from Part V mechanisms.
The plan itself acknowledges that securing the social housing output is
dependent on a number of critical factors including, most importantly,
A functioning private residential construction sector, with levels of supply to
meet demand (delivering 10% social housing units under Part V and
providing a supply for targeted acquisitions).
Social housing provision is being privatised onto the private rented sector
which has meant a failure to achieve social housing targets and reduced
private rental stock available to the wider population. This is not a social
housing strategy!
And this is where the plan ultimately fails. Its output of social housing is
dependent on a very significant increase in supply in the private housing
market which has already proven in its inability to do so.
What is required is an increase of the social housing capital allocation to 2bn
per annum to local authorities and housing associations to ensure the building
of at least 12,000 new permanent social housing units. This is alongside the
changing of NAMAs mandate to prioritise its social mandate over the
maximising financial return and to ensure the 20,000 units it builds are
affordable and public housing units and to use its 3bn cash reserves to build
an additional affordable and social 30,000 units.
It is only when we get close to building at least 20,000 new affordable and
social housing units per annum that we can get close to addressing the
national emergency of the housing crisis.
Ultimately the only guarantee of affordable supply of housing to a broad range
of income groups (from the lowest income to middle income workers) is by
the state through local authorities (with support from Housing associations).
A social mix in developments can be achieved by the state building affordable
housing available to different income groups.
This should be a mix of traditional public housing, cost rental housing, shared
ownership, equity partnerships and cooperative housing. It is the time for a
New Deal in housing where we take this opportunity to ensure the provision
of affordable and high quality homes as a right to all in this country.
It is great to see that Home Sweet Homes Emergency Housing Plan includes
these ideas as some of its core proposals.
Home Sweet Home outlines that there should be the provision of a minimum
of 10,000 new social/public housing units owned by Local Authorities and
Approved Housing Bodies per year for the next decade in order to clear all
social housing lists.
The government should suspend all sales by NAMA of land and assets and
use its finances to deliver 10,000 new social and affordable housing units for
families and low-income households.
Most importantly Home Sweet Home outlines that this new social and
affordable housing building programme can be financed through ceasing all
tax cuts until the current housing and homelessness crisis has been averted.
It states that it is morally reprehensible that we have so far given more than
2.5 billion in tax cuts while homelessness has doubled and thousands of
children are spending their childhoods growing up in hotel rooms.
They also highlight correctly that should borrowing be necessary, the
National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has borrowed 500m at an
interest rate of 0.81%. This low cost borrowing could provide up to 5,000
social housing units per year. Furthermore, they point out that in 2014 the
Irish League of Credit Unions formally proposed making up to 5bn available
for social and affordable housing schemes but two years on and Government
has yet to formally respond. This source of funding should be accessed as a
matter of urgency.
The reality is that the government in its Rebuilding Ireland Plan has allocated
insufficient funding to the new build of permanent real social housing homes.
It is manipulating the use of the term social housing and misleading people
with the figures it is using in order to suggest its plans will address the crisis
when in fact there is much less new build of real social housing in the plans
than the government is trying to portray.
Rebuilding Ireland is a fundamentally flawed plan as it driven more by an
ideological aversion to the state building affordable homes than evidence-
based policy solutions based on meeting the housing needs and right to
housing for people.
The Plan is based on the taxpayer incentivising and subsidising the private
construction industry and private speculative finance through the various
private rental social housing schemes, the help-to-buy subsidy (for which
there was no cost-benefit analysis done!), Real Estate Investment Trust tax
breaks, the sell-off and leasing of local authority land to developers and the
sale by NAMA at discount of land and property to vulture funds and investors.
The alternative approach outlined above is, therefore, urgently required. And
that is why it is really important that the Apollo House and Home Sweet
Home campaign gain sufficient public support to achieve this policy change.
Late last week the new Programme for Government was released and
yesterday Willie Penrose TD was appointed as Minister of State with special
responsibility for Housing and Planning, a so-called super junior position in
that it comes with a seat at the Cabinet table.
Firstly, I very much welcome that housing and planning have been recognised
as being of sufficient importance that they merit a Minister of State, and have
an elevated status amongst the junior ministry positions. They are clearly two
key, inter-related issues affecting society.
Housing is about shelter, home, community and neighbourhood. There are
some standout issues to deal with here unfinished estates, the social housing
waiting list, the regeneration of some social housing estates, confidence in the
housing market, negative equity, mortgage payments, etc. Planning is about
ordered and organised development; it shapes what is built and should be an
important part of addressing the crisis with respect to helping create the
conditions for growth and recovery. Decisions around development affect
society into long term, in that what we build now the next generation will
inherit, along with its associated costs in relation to servicing, maintenance,
energy and fuel, productivity and competitiveness, the environment, and so
on.
Below I have pulled out statements relating to housing and planning from the
new Programme for Government, excluding the material around mortgages
etc, and provide some brief thoughts in relation to some of them (material
from the Programme for Government is in italics). At the end of the post, I set
out some of the things that I would like to see the new Minister for Housing
and Planning do.
Housing
We will mandate the Minster for the Environment, in conjunction with Local
Authorities, to bring forward a coherent plan to resolve the problems
associated with ghost estates. This plan will be developed in cooperation
with NAMA.
This has already been done by last government through the expert group set
up to examine unfinished estates. The draft report is already in hand, and
draft manual suggesting site resolution plans has been out for
consultation. There is room for improvement, but it will involve statutory
changes. Im assuming here that the incoming government has an alternative
solution that it wants to implement or wishes to refine/extend the plan that
has been developed by the DEHLG.
We will introduce a staged purchase scheme to increase the stock of social
housing, while achieving the best possible value for public investment. Under
the terms of this scheme, leased dwellings will revert to the ownership of
local authorities and housing associations at the end of the leasehold period.
As I understand this, it is a revised version of the Social Housing Leasing
Initiative in that leased property will not revert to the developer after twenty
years, but will become a state or housing association asset.
We will enable larger housing associations and local authorities to access
private sector funding for social housing by issuing social housing bonds,
secured on the value of their existing housing stock when market conditions
allow.
We will amend the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (1992) to require
all local authorities and housing associations to register with the
Department of the Environment if they wish to access Government subsidies
or other supports for social housing provision
We are committed to urban regeneration to revitalise communities in areas
such as Limerick to give families a better quality of life.
I would hope that this also means reviving PPP schemes for estates such as St
Michaels and Dolphin Barn, rather than exclusively focusing on the large
projects that have attracted more media attention such as Limerick. There is
much social housing that either needs to be replaced or refitted to make more
habitable.
We will improve the quality of information available on the Irish housing
market by requiring that the selling price of all dwellings is recorded in a
publicly available, national housing price database.
We will legislate for tougher and clearer rules relating to fire safety in
apartment buildings and will introduce a new fire safety inspection and
certification regime.
We will establish a tenancy deposit protection scheme to put an end to
disputes regarding the return of deposits.
We are committed to ending long term homelessness and the need to sleep
rough.
To address the issue of existing homelessness we will review and update the
existing Homeless Strategy, including a specific focus on youth homelessness,
and take into account the current demands on existing housing and health
services with a view to assessing how to best provide additional services.
In line with our Comprehensive Spending Review, we will alleviate the
problem of long term homelessness by introducing a housing first approach
to accommodating homeless people. In this way we will be able to offer
homeless people suitable, long term housing in the first instance and
radically reduce the use of hostel accommodation and the associated costs
for the Exchequer.
We believe that prevention is better than cure and we will aggressively
target the root causes of homelessness. By having a dedicated body to
coordinate policy across Government we will target initiatives in cross
cutting areas which will aim to prevent as much as possible problems like
homelessness.

Planning
We will abolish the position of County Manager and replace it with that of
Chief Executive, with a limited range of executive functions. The primary
function of the Chief Executive will be to facilitate the implementation of
democratically decided policy.
This seems to suggest that county managers will become the puppets of
county councillors. The irony of renaming a job as a Chief Executive and
removing executive abilities is entirely absent.
A democratically-decided Regional or City Plan will replace the present top-
down Strategic Planning Guideline model.
We will make the planning process more democratic by amending the 2010
Planning and Development Act to allow for detailed public submissions on
zoning, and to rebalance power towards elected representatives.
I dont fully follow these two points because development plans are decided by
elected officials in a bottom-up process that is guided by a regional and
national framework. Councillors continue to hold the reserve function and
sign off on plans. Planners help put them together, and they do this inside an
Irish and EU legislative framework. The point seems to be that the incoming
coalition view the new process, as directed by the new Planning and
Development Amendment Act, as being too much shaped by the central state
within a wider strategic framework. To do away with a strategic planning
framework, which this seems to be suggesting, would seem to me to be a
major folly we do need joined up planning across scales plans need to be
harmonised across local, county, regional and national scales so that they
work in concert with each other and not against each other.
The POG seems to recognise this as it states: We will seek to better
coordinate national, regional and local planning laws in order to achieve
better and more coordinated development that supports local communities
instead of the current system that favours developer led planning.
There is clearly a contradiction here. Planning is accused of being both too
top-down from the centre and developer-led, and yet the power to approve the
plans lies in the hands of councillors (although the Minister of Environment
has certain veto powers if local plans contravene good practice and legislative
conditions). In my view, planning has to be strategic because it needs to be
part of the process for guiding development, growth and recovery to help get
us out of the crisis were in. That will involve tough decisions about where we
want to concentrate development to create the critical mass in terms of
population, higher order services, infrastructure needed for places around
the country to be competitive in the global economy in terms of attracting
FDI. Planning should not take place purely at the local scale, reflecting
localism without adequate regard to wider regional and national aims and
objectives. Part of the reason were in the mess were in is because we had
planning that did not take adequate notice of principles of planning, lacked
joined-up thinking spatially and sectorally, that did not fully understand its
obligations with respect to EU directives and initiatives, that ignored evidence
to inform decision-making, and that allowed cronyism, clientelism and
localism to operate. At the same time, planning has to be democratically
mandated and people should have a say in the development process. That
said, councillors do need to have a good understanding of their roles,
obligations, responsibilities with regards their planning remit and the
principles of sustainable and balanced development. We simply cannot afford
to re-establish a weak, laissez faire planning system.
We will improve local transport access by making local transport plans an
integral part of local Development Plans. We will force all local authorities to
develop a transport plan in conjunction with their County/City Development
Plans, and Local Areas Plans.
We will pass legislation to allow local authorities take housing estates in
charge after three years if there are no significant financial implications for
local authorities, and substantially increase existing penalties for those who
break planning laws.
We will require local authorities to carry out an Educational Impact
Assessment for all new zonings for residential development to ensure an
adequate supply of school places.
Local authorities will be required to carry out a flood risk report in the
preparation of their City and County Development Plans, and will also be
legally required to manage flood risk through sustainable planning and
development.
We will introduce a single national building inspectorate service.
We will examine what services could be converged between two or more
local authorities, such as technology support, human resources and fire
services.
We are committed to a fundamental reorganisation of local governance
structures to allow for devolution of much greater decision-making to local
people. We will give local communities more control over transport and
traffic, economic development, educational infrastructure, and local
responses to crime and local healthcare needs.
I have no idea what this last statement really means in practical terms, how
such devolution will operate, or how communities will gain and exercise
control. Itll be interesting to see what proposal they come up with.
What I would like to see with respect to housing and planning

That the progress made with the Planning and Development Amendment Act
is continued. That we push forward with joined up planning, with plans at
different scales local, county, regional and national working in concert
with each other, not against each other.
That we eradicate cronyism, clientelism and localism from the planning
system, whilst planning remains democratically mandated.
That planning is informed by hard evidence and cost benefit and impact
assessments, not anecdote and favour.
That councillors receive mandatory training on their roles, obligations and
responsibilities with respect to planning, the logics, principles and
practicalities of good planning, and the legislative framework in which
planning takes place.
That the power of the reserve function and decision making comes with
proper responsibilities and liabilities (e.g., if councillors ignore the advice of
planners and others and zone land and give permissions for building on flood
plains, those that voted in favour should be personally liable if those
properties then flood, etc).
That we meet our obligations with respect to different EU directives relating
to water, habitats, etc.
That we address pressing issues with regards to unfinished estates, making
legislative changes if needed in order to make progress.
That we start to tackle the social housing waiting list presently c.120,000
households.
That we continue through with urban regeneration schemes, including trying
to get some PPPs back up and functioning, and we re-fit and upgrade sub-
standard social housing.
That we make significant progress in tackling the issue of homelessness.
That we make much more progress on producing good housing data across a
range of key performance indicators including house prices but also
commercial property (for which we have no data except that generated by the
property sector).
That we take advantage of the opportunities for long term land-banking given
the land holdings in NAMA and the DEHLG land aggregation scheme. We
should not sell sites that know we will need in the future for schools and other
public facilities back to the private sector at the bottom of the market and then
have to buy them back in 8-10 years time for several times the sale price.
That we introduce mechanisms to stop the hoarding of zoned development
land, so that it is used in an orderly process.
That the National Spatial Strategy continues to be a key organizing framework
for a revised National Development Plan and that coordination with the
Regional Development Strategy in the North continues.
A change of government is always a time of opportunity to take a fresh and
revitalised approach to issues. The appointment of a Minister of State for
Housing and Planning is a welcome development. The Minister faces many
pressing challenges and hopefully hell start to make good in-roads into them
at the same time as improving and strengthening our housing provision and
planning system
We issued this press release today with Terry McMahon, a
filmmaker and one of the artists who were part of Home Sweet
Home since its beginnings.
Home Sweet Home; A Lesson in Forgotten Humanity with a Drive
to Improve Standards
Over the course of 27 days, Apollo House provided
accommodation to over 205 people who were otherwise sleeping
rough. It provided onsite support services, a medical team of 14
professionally trained volunteers and over 250 volunteers onsite.
90 people have received 6-month accommodation since
December 21st, when housing services began to engage with
volunteer support staff and residents at Apollo House. Members
of the public collectively gave over 6,000 hours of free labour.
Over 4,000 people in Ireland offered to volunteer and over 500
people donated essential supplies. For the first time in a long
time, thousands of people were given the opportunity to take
meaningful, practical action against the State's shocking
disregard for public well-being.
A temporary volunteer-run drop-in advice centre for the residents
of Apollo has also been set up by the Home Sweet Home
Campaign to provide continued supports to all residents. This has
been entirely achieved through volunteer efforts, with no
communication from Government or council officials.
Filmmaker and Actor Terry McMahon, who has been with Home
Sweet Home from the beginning said, "In all the smoke and
mirrors bullshit of perfidious politicians and duplicitous reporters
lets not lose sight of the staggering humanity generated by Home
Sweet Home. It was the contribution from the volunteers that
would have made the entire history of humanistic activism proud.
They are the heart and soul of this movement. For the lesson in
forgotten humanity we are all in their debt."
Alongside these achievable commitments is the promise of
community-based homeless services to enable people to stay
within their communities while receiving support. Currently many
people must travel to the city centre to access support creating a
further cycle of homelessness, where they face extra costs and a
breakdown in communication with their families and community.
Many councils do not provide a housing officer to deal with
people seeking assistance in their local areas.
Campaigners now call on the Minister for Housing, Simon
Coveney and the Dublin City Council Executive, Brendan Kenny to
take action on the delivery of seven key achievable agreements
made during negotiations between Home Sweet Home and
Government. These include the provision of a permanent drop-in
advice centre for people who are homeless to link in with services
and support workers, as well as the provision of two new hostels
with residents committees and 24-hour access and that minimum
standards in Apollo House would be the new benchmark for these
two new facilities.
our condemnation with the Irish Housing Network of the
Government in voting down the Anti Eviction Bill
it is our firm belief that without the strengthening of tenants rights,
suffering through homelessness will increase
Home Sweet Home Eire campaigners have described
governments voting down of the proposed Anti Eviction bill as a
missed opportunity to protect people in need.
We believe measures proposed in the bill, such as the prevention
of eviction on grounds of sale, would have immediately stopped a
great number of people from becoming homeless through
eviction.
During negotiations with Home Sweet Home representatives
Minister for Housing Simon Coveney recognised that the housing
crisis was a national emergency.
We are dismayed that measures that could immediately grant
more safety and stability to 250,000 people and families renting
nationwide have been blocked by a government whose actions
are at odds with their commitments.
According to Focus Irelands figures, one third of all families who
are becoming homeless have been evicted due to a landlord
selling the property. Our campaign recognises that the fight to
end homelessness does not end with the provision of
accommodation for those sleeping rough on the streets. In order
to make meaningful progress in preventing people around the
country from losing their homes, the government must be willing
to make significant changes to housing legislation.
We are concerned by comments made by Minister for Housing
Simon Coveney yesterday in the Dil. In a statement Minister
Coveney claimed that he had not seen the agreements made
between the Home Sweet Home campaign and his department at
negotiations earlier this month.
This is a complete contradiction of the terms of the agreement
between both sides at that meeting and represent a serious u-turn
by the Minister on his commitments. Coveneys comments today,
along with the failure and delay last week in providing appropriate
accommodation for residents living in Apollo House raise
questions regarding the Ministers commitment to providing
support to those who are homeless and those at risk of
homelessness.
HSH spokesperson David Gibney said, The government has
shown no appetite for stemming the tide of homelessness and
charities like Focus Ireland estimate that 60 families per month will
continue to lose their homes over the course of 2017. It doesnt
have to be like this. They could have passed todays anti-eviction
Bill, and Fianna Fail could have enabled that to happen while
making any amendments they wanted in the Committee stage.
Furthermore, the government could introduce a moratorium on
evictions for those in mortgage arrears and implement the Focus
Ireland amendment. These measures would almost wipe out new
homelessness for the next 12 months, but instead the
Government and Fianna Fail are continuing to put property rights
over human rights, which is extremely disappointing.
Earlier this month during the occupation of Apollo House and the
buildings conversion through volunteer efforts into a safe and
secure home for people who had been sleeping on the streets,
Home Sweet Home released a set of basic demands to end the
housing crisis.
These demands include strengthening tenants rights through the
prevention of evictions on grounds of sale. It also called for a
moratorium on evictions by banks to be put in place for those in
mortgage arrears.
Annually there are over 600 families losing their homes as a result
of these types of evictions. This accompanied with the anti-
homelessness amendment could wipe out new homelessness
almost immediately.
We also demanded that the practice of removing HAP and RAS
tenants from the primary housing list be abolished and called for
the introduction of a properly funded advice and information
campaign targeted at those at risk of homelessness.
HSH spokesperson Robert Murtagh continued, As Apollo House
showed, there is no substitute in peoples lives for safety, security
and stability. The governments decision today is a guarantee of
further instability for people nationwide who are facing the reality
of becoming homeless.
We have built a strong civil society movement made up of people
from all sectors of society determined to end homelessness and
tackle the housing crisis in a meaningful way. We are currently in
the middle of the worst housing crisis this state has ever
experienced.
For the government to act in such a manner at this point in time is
quite frankly appalling and shows a complete disregard for people
facing homelessness.
There are currently 4,436 adults and 2,549 children homeless and
the government's response has been to weigh in on the side of
landlords and property owners.
Our movement is about empowering people to help themselves
and make change happen. When the state continuously lets down
the more vulnerable in society, its people must intervene.
Apollo House on Poolbeg St yesterday. It is set to be vacated today.
Picture: Gareth Chaney

Come on home, Bono, all is forgiven. Perhaps it is appropriate that in


the week Bonos band announce a new tour, the value of celebrity
endorsement has been brought home to us all.
Apollo House is to be vacated today. Since December 16, the office
block in the centre of Dublin has occupied the national
consciousness, dragging the issue of homelessness to the front of
the political agenda.
Would Apollo House and all that has flowed from it have been
achieved without celebrity endorsement?
Singers Glen Hansard and Damien Dempsey, filmmakers Jim Sheridan
and Terry McMahon, and actor John Connors were to the fore in the
Home Sweet Home group which occupied the building. They brought
celebrity wattage and artistic credibility to the campaign. Other
celebs lent their names, but the five artists of the Apollo actually got
their hands dirty.
The celebrity wattage was not confined to the creative world.
Mattress Mick was on hand with some of his merchandise once the
building was stormed, although he could claim some celluloid credit
after the recent movie bearing his name.
The celebrities brought the media, but its fair to say they also
brought the activists. There were reports that up to 4,000 people
offered their services to the group to make Apollo House a home for
dozens without one. Would that level of interest, not to mention
160,000 in donations, have come about without the presence of the
stars?

None of which is to take away from the work of the volunteers who
are stars only to those closest to them. Having visited the building
last week, I can attest that it was fused with an energy that exuded
compassion.
They gave of their time or holidays to fashion, for a few short weeks,
a home rather than a shelter for up to 40 individuals, many of whom
would have been accustomed to being treated as invisible on the
streets of the capital. This was spontaneous civic engagement at its
best, which tapped into something usually lost in the loud, angry,
and entrenched views and politics that dominate in these troubled
times.
The occupation kept pressure on Dublin City Council to ensure
decent accommodation was available for all rough sleepers and
that would now seem to be the case.
Rough sleeping is the most visible element of homelessness and the
element easiest fixed. More urgency should attach to the much
bigger problem of those sleeping in temporary accommodation, most
notably hotel rooms.
At the last count there were 7,000 people housed in temporary
accommodation in the State, including around 2,500 children. This is
little short of a national scandal, one which the Government has
promised to end. Its housing strategy, published to much fanfare last
July, contains such a pledge.
One upshot of the heightened profile of homelessness as a result of
Apollo House has been that this pledge has been dragged back into
the spotlight.
On TV3 last week, Damien English, the junior minister with
responsibility for housing, twice reiterated that the targets for
emergency accommodation will be met by June 30. His senior
colleague Simon Coveney repeated the pledge on Tuesday.
This despite an increase in the number staying in temporary
accommodation since last summer.
The focus on that target is bound to concentrate minds in the
Government.
Should the summer roll around with children still being reared in
hotel rooms, then political accountability must be forthcoming.
So in the round, Apollo House and its combination of celebrities and
activists have done some service to the most pressing societal issue
of the day.
All of which brings us back to poor old Bono.
He is the man who brought celebrity endorsement onto a new plane
with his work in Africa. Its safe to say that an unquantifiable number
of human beings are alive today who might otherwise not be if he
hadnt shone a light on their plight.
And what thanks does he get? In many quarters in this country,
particularly among those who describe themselves as being on the
left, he is derided.
In the early days of Apollo, there were rumours that he might turn up
to sing a song, and the general feeling was he could expect a very
mixed reaction.
OK, some might object to his singing. U2s music ceased to matter
about 25 years ago, but celebrity burns a lot longer than talent.
Others have an issue with the tax arrangements of his band, which
hopped off to the Netherlands a decade ago to avoid paying big
bucks.
So what? Was anybody interested in the personal arrangements of
the cooler celebs who led the charge on Apollo House? These things
are all secondary to the good that might be done by lending a face
and shining a light.
Whats sauce for the Hansard celebrity goose is sauce for the Bono
celebrity gander. Maybe the next time around he might show up and
do a duet with Mattress Mick. Now thats something that would have
the whole country talking.
Rates of child homelessness increased by 55% last year, despite
government efforts to tackle the housing crisis, it has emerged,
writes Evelyn Ring of the Irish Examiner.

The childrens charity Barnardos said children were the invisible


victims of the housing crisis
Last December, there were 2,505 children registered as homeless
across Ireland, compared to 1,616 during the same month in 2015, a
55% increase.

Over the same 12 month period, adult homelessness across the


country rose by 28%, so child homelessness is growing at double this
rate.
720p
01:45

Barnardos: Child Homelessness Increased by 55% in 2016 Invisible


Victims of the Housing Crisis #Homelessless

The Barnardos chief executive, Fergus Finlay, said homeless children


suffered terribly.

Imagine packing your bag and going with your family to present to
the authorities as homeless, he said.

Children became overwhelmed by the change in their lives and


afraid of what their future contained.

The Barnardos head of advocacy, June Tinsley, said the housing crisis
was escalating at a ferocious pace and the effect of homelessness on
children was profound.

It affects every aspect of their development: Mental and physical


health, social and emotional development, their education, and their
key relationships, she said.

Barnardos has called for a redoubling of efforts to ensure families


are moved out of hotel accommodation and into more stable and
appropriate accommodation as soon as possible.

Until we have a response that is adaptive, swift, and far-reaching,


we will struggle to keep pace, and we will struggle to protect these
children, said Ms Tinsley.

A mother living in overcrowded private accommodation says her


daughter, who is only nine years old, has to share a single bed with
her.

I had to move in here after my relationship broke down. It was


advertised as a flat, but its a bedsit with only a single bed, a hot
plate for cooking, and a small ensuite, she said.

Imagine having to share a single bed with your mother when youre
nine and having nowhere to play or do your homework except on the
floor?

The woman contacted Barnardos, and they helped her daughter


understand the situation and build up her self-confidence.

Theyve helped link her in with a local afterschool club. Its early
days yet, but I hope she returns to being a happy, sociable child.
Shes only nine. She didnt ask for this.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/55-surge-in-
children-registered-as-homeless-777347.html

Another child said she had not told any of her school friends that she
was living in a hotel because they might tease her.
55% surge in children registered as homeless 17 Thursday, February 16,
2017 Barnardos-Housing-fact-sheet-2017

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3462111/Barnardos-Housing-
fact-sheet-2017.pdf

Homeless charities concerned by


January figures
Monday, February 20, 2017
Homeless charities have expressed concern after homelessness
figures reached a new record high.
7,167 people are homeless according to the January figures, an
increase of 19 on the previous month.
However the number of homeless families fell slightly during
January, with the Housing Minister Simon Coveney saying
government policies are working.

But Mike Allen of Focus Ireland says much more needs to be done:
Focus Ireland figures show that every five hours during January a
child lost their home.
Thats one of the highest figures of home-loss weve ever seen.
It really emphasises that the government, if theyre going to solve
this problem, have to do much more to prevent individuals and
families losing their homes.
Rents are now rising at the fastest rate on record as social
campaigners warn that spiralling costs are forcing people into
homelessness, writes Conall Ftharta of the Irish Examiner.

According to the Daft.ie rental price report for the last quarter of
2016, rents rose nationally by 13.5% in the year to December the
largest annual increase in rents ever recorded by Daft, which extends
back to 2002.

In the final three months of 2016, the average monthly national rent
stood at a record 1,111 the third quarter in a row that this figure
has increased.

In Dublin, the annual rate of rent inflation last year was 14.5% the
second highest rate on record since 2002. Rents in the capital are
now at an average of 1,643, 13.7% higher than their previous peak
in early 2008 or an average of almost 200 a month.

In Cork, rents rose by 12% during 2016 and now stand at an average
of 1,096.

Rents in Galway are 10% higher than a year previously at 975,


while rents in Limerick have risen 12.5% to 875 in the last year.

In Waterford City, rents have risen by 10.7% in the 12-month period


to 745. This is the same percentage rise as the rest of the country
where the average rent outside major cities now stands at 783.

The Daft.ie report shows that housing supply remains low. There
were just under 4,000 properties available to rent nationwide at the
start of February. This is a slight improvement on the same date the
previous year when there were just under 3,600 properties available.

However, it remains just one-quarter of the level seen in 2012, when


there were almost 12,000 properties available to rent nationwide.

Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College, Dublin, and author of


the report, said the figures are very concerning.

Not only do rents continue to reach new peaks, rental inflation


continues to increase in both Dublin and nationwide. The increase in
rents in the final three months of the year in Dublin was 4%, the
second fastest three-month increase on record, he said.

While measures to control rental inflation may help sitting tenants,


they do little to address the underlying issue of a lack of supply.

Indeed, they may hinder supply by encouraging the exit of existing


landlords who had not substantially increased rents in recent years.
Addressing construction costs remains the best way of addressing
supply shortages and the audit of build costs remains the single
most important next step for policymakers, for that reason.
Niamh Randall, a spokeswoman for the Simon Communities, said
that spiralling rents and the lack of housing supply needed to be
tackled as a priority, as people were being forced into homelessness.

Increasingly, these issues are preventing people from finding and


sustaining affordable homes within the rental market, she said.

Many people entering into homelessness are coming from the


private rental sector where they have been unable to maintain their
tenancy.

Keeping people in the homes that they already have is key to


stopping the flow of people into homelessness.
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3461118/2016-Q4-Rental-
Daft-Report.pdf

Apollo House Occupiers: We


Need to Be at The Forefront of
the Fight Against Homelessness

20 Dec 2016

A musician by trade, Quentin


Sheridan was homeless and so he
put out a call on Facebook. The
occupation of Apollo House by Home
Sweet Home is the result. But it is
only the start of a battle, in which
Ireland can provide the lead
Homelessness is a growing crisis in Ireland. For those
who are in any doubt, heres the facts.
Over the past year, the number of homeless families
increased by over 40 percent. As the 100th
anniversary year of the 1916 Easter rising comes to
an end, one in three people in emergency
accommodation in Ireland is a child.
Officially, at the moment, 6,525 people are homeless
in Ireland, but even that shocking number does not
reflect the true scale of the problem. It excludes
people sleeping on the streets, living in shelters for
victims of domestic violence, or couch surfing with
friends or family. It does not tell the whole story
Why have things arrived at such a sorry pass?
The unholy combination of job losses, pay cuts,
negative equity and additional taxes like the
Universal Social Charge, coupled with high rents and
increased repossession of houses, have cumulatively
meant that many of us are more at risk of
homelessness now, than at any period since the
inception of the State.
Quentin Sheridans story is illustrative. It was his
landlord who had his property repossessed. As a
result, Sheridan was turfed out and he ended up
sleeping rough in Dublin.
Sheridan, one of the founders of the Home Sweet
Home group who have taken over Apollo House, is
also a musician who performs under the name King
Kyou. The protest and occupation began, he says, with
an appeal on social media.
About six weeks ago I put a passionate plea on
Facebook, on Home Sweet Home, which was a page I
set up at the time. I asked a couple of friends of mine
who are musicians and celebrities Guys is there
anything you can do to help me get something off the
ground?'.
Although Sheridan helped to set Home Sweet Home in
motion, he believes that it is the widespread support
of ordinary people thats given the movement its
momentum.
Im not the mover and shaker behind it the people
are, he says now. "Without them, thered be no Home
Sweet Home. The main reason I was spurred-on to do
this was that I used to pass this place every day for
two years. There was a four foot overhang and there
were two couples sleeping there and one of the ladies
was pregnant.
"One day I came past and there was a fence, so that
we couldnt sleep under the overhang. And I was
appalled because it was a government building. The
government is responsible for housing people that
cannot house themselves. They are responsible for
allowing the rents to be put up. They are not willing
to fight for the ordinary citizen.
Since moving into Apollo House, the group has got
some facilities off the ground.
We have running water, we have electricity and we
have a few heaters, says Sheridan. We have basic
camping stoves at the moment. But we have had great
support from the public whove brought pots of
stews, curries and coddles. Were getting sandwiches
and cakes off local shops. What we need most at the
moment is warm clothing, jumpers, jackets for men
and women.
That too has been arriving since we spoke. While
musicians played there at lunchtime today, boxes of
T-shirts were being delivered.
On the wider issue, Sheridan is in no doubt that the
occupation of Apollo House is more than justified.
There are not enough beds in homelessness shelters
across the capital to house the number of people who
need accommodation, says Sheridan. Whats more,
the shelters are closed during the day and the
homeless population is forced back onto the streets.
At best, they are being offered night shelters. It does
not even resemble the idea of a home.
They are walking the streets from 9 in the morning
until 10, 12 oclock at night, Quentin says. Here,
people do not have to leave the premises. We have a
TV and videos we can watch. Were hoping to get a
pool table and table tennis donated soon. We have
heard they are coming and were just waiting on them
to be delivered thats a donation also.
People have been amazing it has shocked me, he
smiles and you know he means in a good way. "It
showed me people really cared. Theres many a time I
sat in a doorway late at night and wondered if there
was even a God to allow people to live this way.
In addition to shelter and food, the group has
received medical services from volunteers too.
A lot of homeless people, especially at this time of
year suffer from mental health disorders such as
depression, because of the lives they have lived, he
reflects. "Others end up on drugs or drink because of
the homeless situation. Thats was one of our main
goals. We have a doctor on board, we have a
psychiatrist on board, we have drug counsellors on
board and we have a couple of nurses on board.
Legal notice has already been served against the
Apollo House occupiers, and a decision was ratified
yesterday by Dublin City Council which will also the
demolition of the building. But the group plans to
fight.
The worst case scenario is that the Receiver takes us
to court and wants us to move on, he states. "We aim
to fight any summons sent against us. We allowed the
police in to show them around the building. As Jim
Sheridan said, this is a crisis and we need to be at the
forefront of ending homelessness. If we do that, other
countries will follow suit.
Group behind Apollo House
occupation raises 160,000
from public donations
Home Sweet Home took over the Dublin building earlier this month for
use as homeless accommodation.
Dec 27th 2016,

THE HOME SWEET Home group has now raised almost


160,000 as part of its campaign to combat homelessness in
Ireland.
A GoFundMe page for Home Sweet Home, set up just two
weeks ago, passed the 150,000 mark in recent days.
People have been donating amounts of between 5 and
100 to the group over the Christmas period.
All your generous donations will be drawn down by the
Irish Housing Network, who are one of the groups helping to
run the Home Sweet Home campaign, a message on the
page says.
All donations will go directly towards the costs of running
the current action, and any excess will go directly into a
campaign that ends homelessness in Ireland.
Singer-songwriter Glen Hansard, one of a number of high-
profile figures backing the campaign, has said that excess
funds may be donated to other charities.

Apollo House
Home Sweet Home, which was co-founded by high-profile
anti-water charges activist and trade unionist Brendan Ogle,
occupied Apollo House in Dublin on Thursday 15 December,
and have been using the multi-storey building as an
accommodation centre for the homeless.
The Irish Housing Network, a broad coalition of different
far-left grassroots housing organisations, is one of the
groups behind the occupation. Alongside Hansard,
singer Hozier and film director Jim Sheridan, are also
backing the effort.
The occupiers have been told by the High Court to vacate the
building by 11 January. The order was granted after
injunction proceedings were taken by receivers of the
building, Mazars.
The group has been inundated with donations of food,
clothes and other items since moving into Apollo House.
About 70 people were served with Christmas dinner at the
Tara Street building on Sunday. About 40 people slept there
over the Christmas period.
In a Facebook post, Home Sweet Home said that from today
they were looking for volunteers for their security,
maintenance and cleaning and support teams.
Residents and volunteers will sit together for today's meal.
Image: Irish Housing Network
/Photo Text content
ABOUT 70 PEOPLE will have Christmas dinner in Apollo
House today according to activists from the Home Sweet
Home group.
The former Department Social Protection building
is currently being occupied by a group of activists under the
banners of the Home Sweet Home coalition and the Irish
Housing Network.
Home Sweet Home has been using the building to provide
shelter for people sleeping rough in Dublin and says 40
people are currently sleeping there.
Todays Christmas dinner for residents and volunteers will
be cooked by a number of chefs who have volunteered their
services.
The Irish Housing Network says that residents and
volunteers will be sitting together for a meal this afternoon
and that Glen Hansard and other musicians will be
providing entertainment.
Home Sweet Home has also said that more than 150,000
has been raised online as part of their campaign.
More than 2,500 people have volunteered their services to
Home Sweet Home, including mental health professionals,
construction and maintenance workers, medical personnel
and legal professionals, according to trade unionist with
Unite Brendan Ogle.
Over 150,000 has been raised online and thousands of
food parcels, bags of clothes, sleeping bags and much more
have been donated to the campaign.
The generosity of so many people has certainly lifted the
nation this Christmas, he added.

In the High Court on Wednesday, the occupiers were told to


vacate the building by 11 January 2017. The order was
granted after injunction proceedings were taken by receivers
of the building Mazars.
Home Sweet Home welcomed the courts timescale and said
it meant a roof over the heads of some of Dublins homeless
people at Christmas.
We had a very simple objective at the start of this project.
We did not want anybody sleeping rough on the streets of
Dublin this Christmas, said Home Sweet Homes Rosi
Leonard.
Through the massive support of the Irish public, hopefully
we may actually achieve our objective this year.
Home Sweet Home says that by its estimates there are 6,500
people officially homeless in Ireland today.

HomeSweetHome @HSHIreland
The tables are set and a team of volunteer chefs and
cooks are putting the finishing touches to Christmas lunch
at #ApolloHouse
12:02 PM - 25 Dec 2016
89 89 Retweets260 260 likes
Source: HomeSweetHome/Twitter

Media have not yet been allowed into the house since it was
occupied by Home Sweet Home but the group says it will be
providing daily updates on over the Christmas period.
Yesterday, Ogle refused to rule out further legal proceedings
to push back the court ordered date by which they have to
leave Apollo House.
Home Sweet Home said today that it wishes to thank the
members of public who have supported them in the past 10
days.
Thanks to you, everyone in Apollo House will be well-fed
and most importantly, warm, safe and in good company
over Christmas, Leonard said.
The group also quotes one resident who wished to do the
same:
We are so grateful to everyone for their generosity this year.
Some people have given their time, others donations. But it
all makes us feel like we have a home this Christmas, and for
many of us, its the first time in years.

VOLUNTEERS AT APOLLO House in Dublin city are busy


preparing for Christmas Day.
The building is currently being occupied by a group of
activists under the banners of the Home Sweet Home
coalition and the Irish Housing Network (IHN).
On Wednesday, High Court judge Justice Paul Gilligan
granted an injunction to the receivers of the building
Mazars to regain possession of the property. He ordered
occupants of the building to vacate the former office block
by noon on 11 January.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, organsiers wouldnt rule
out going to court again before that date in an attempt to
overturn the decision.
Trade union official Brendan Ogle told us: Were not ruling
it out Id be lying if I said were sitting down with lawyers
today. Whats going on today is preparing to give the
residents in there the best Christmas some of them have had
in years.
Ogle said some people would love to see the movement fail,
but the fact 40 homeless residents at Apollo House have
been offered 24-hour beds for six months by the Peter
McVerry Trust is a sign the occupation is working.
These are people who spent their lives on the phone trying
to get a bed for 12 hours and then walking around the streets
doing the same thing the next day. So thats a complete
breakthrough.
Ogle said the organisers remain in communication with
Housing Minister Simon Coveney.
Yesterday, the minister said there were 54 unoccupied beds
in Dublin city the previous night.

Follow

Simon Coveney @simoncoveney


So people know the facts: There were 54 unoccupied
beds last night in homeless shelters in Dublin and no more
than 17 in Mechants Quay
10:23 AM - 23 Dec 2016
161 161 Retweets190 190 likes
Source: Simon Coveney/Twitter

Its important to let people know that we are significantly


increasing beds and services to vulnerable homeless people,
Coveney said in a separate tweet.
Ogle said 5,000 litres of oil were delivered to Apollo House
three days ago and more will be delivered next week, to
make sure the property is warm for residents.
A coward in your own generation
Actor and director Terry McMahon said the idea for the
occupation, which has been backed by a number of
celebrities including Glen Hansard and Hozier, came about
through conversations he had with Dean Scurry, John
Connors, Maverick Sabre and Damien Dempsey when they
were mentoring men in Ballymun earlier this year.
It was in the process of realising that, as mentors, is it
arrogant beyond measure to consider yourself a mentor
when in actuality you are a coward in your own generation?
McMahon said they wanted to make a gesture that would
help homeless people and also give people a collective sense
of hope.
Rosi Leonard of the IHN added that shes heard of people
starting to occupy vacant buildings in other parts of the
country.
Weve had people coming up from Cork saying theyre sick
of empty buildings. We cant speak for other peoples anger.
Everyone is pretty furious about the situation and thats why
were seeing so much public support. Its absolutely
phenomenal.
Leonard added that, whether or not Apollo House is vacated
by 11 January, the homelessness crisis nor the public anger
about it will end. She said she thinks the initiative will grow
into a very powerful national movement
The number of homeless
people in Ireland has reached a
record high
The number of homeless families and children both declined this month.
February 20, 17

THE NUMBER OF homeless families and children staying


in emergency accommodation declined last month, but the
number of people in total shot up to record highs.
Figures for January show that there were a total of 7,167
homeless adults and children in emergency accommodation
across Ireland in January, up slightly from 7,148 in
December.
The overall number is up 25% on this month last year.
There were some minor positives as the figures showed 33
fewer families living in emergency accommodation in
January than December. 1,172 families in total were staying
in emergency accommodation for a week in January.
The number of homeless children also dropped by close to
100 across the country, with 2,407 staying in emergency
accommodation in January.
The number of homeless single adults went up, with 117
additional people in emergency accommodation than in
December (4,760 in total).

Dublin still has by far the largest number of homeless


people, with 3247 homeless adults (not including rough
sleepers) in January.
Sinn Fin housing spokesperson Eoin Broin welcomed the
slight reduction in the numbers of homeless families and
children, but said the drop was clearly at the expense of
single person households.
The January homeless figures can be in no way labelled as a
success and government policy on homelessness is clearly
failing, Broin said.
Homelessness charities Focus Ireland and the Peter
McVerry Trust both voiced their concern about the rise in
homeless adults.
Unfortunately, because of the difficulties single people face
it is they who face the longest stay in homelessness, said a
spokesperson for the Peter McVerry Trust.
Focus Ireland said that the number of homeless people had
now reached a record high and criticised the Governments
piecemeal approach.
We need to maintain the huge public recognition that what
is happening to these families is wrong, and the solutions
that the Government have put in place are too piecemeal
and too slow, said Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus
Ireland.
In 2016 RTE made losses of 20 million and nobody bats an eyelid. In the
same year Bus ireann lost 9 million, the country's media goes into
meltdown over it and it's very existence is now under threat.zIt's also
worth noting that many of RTE's presenters had large wage rises last
year despite loosing all of that money.zWhy is it that these 2 semi-state
bodies are being dealt with in a polar opposite manner?
Maybe if Bus ireann put posters on their buses telling everyone that
The Blue Shirts are doing a great job, their loss making would also be
brushed under the carpet too..
Poll: Would you like to see Enda Kenny become our Brexit
minister?

react-text: 6 RESULTS /react-text


react-text: 9 2232 Votes /react-text
Yes18%
No71%
No interest/no opinion11%
Homeless being charged
10 a night to sleep in
internet caf


A Dublin city centre internet cafe is
exploiting the homeless by charging
them to stay the night, it has been
claimed.
Images obtained by the Herald show people sleeping on
chairs, floors and under desks at the 5 Star Internet Cafe
on Dublins Talbot Street.
People Before Profit councillor Andrew Keegan claimed
the cafe is making thousands of euro a week.
Cafe manager Luke Ma and owner York Yan said they
have been allowing customers to spend the night on the
premises provided they pay to use the internet.
Mr Yan said the arrangement suited both the cafe and
people who need a bed.
Homeless people are coming in and we give them a
special price, he said.
It is normally 2 an hour for internet use but we charge
them 10, or 1 an hour, if they stay overnight.
They say that it is cold outside, that its raining, that they
cant stay outside and that they dont want to sleep on the
streets. They want to go online, watch a movie or talk with
a friend.
I just want us to help each other. I need to pay staff,
electricity, rates, tax, and they need a place to rest.

When asked about the suitability of the cafe for overnight


stays, Mr Yan said gardai have told him the cafe is not a
hostel and that people cannot sleep on the premises. He
said gardai told him they could go online but not sleep.
People just sit on the chairs and then have a sleep or rest
on the desk, said Mr Yan.
The cafe has a bathroom for customer use but has no
washing facilities.
Mr Yan disputed Cllr Keegans claim that he is making
thousands a week.
I dont make thousands. It is about 700. We have about
10 people a night.
Mr Ma said the cafe had never had any trouble. Some
homeless people do stay here, he said.
Theyre nice. They give us no trouble. Some come in at
12 or 1am and pay 10 to use the internet for 12 hours.
They can have a chair, hot water and coffee if they ask.
I dont know if theyre always homeless. Some might want
to be near the bus station. Were open to all customers.
On very cold nights, it can be busy. There are three
homeless people that are frequent customers. They dont
like the hostels.
When asked about health and safety regulations, Mr Ma
said the people who stay overnight are safer in the cafe
than they are on the streets.
What am I to do? Kick them out into the freezing cold to
die? We dont need permission. Were not a hostel. Its
our premises.

He said the customers use the internet for a while and


then fall asleep on the chairs.
As long as they pay to use the internet they can stay. If I
have any trouble I call the police. Ive been here 10 years
so I know what Im dealing with. Cllr Keegan said the cafe
is exploiting the homeless.
As far as I know, the homeless people can come and go
as they like during the night as long as they pay for the
internet.
But internet cafes dont exist anymore.
We all have mobile phones, so the 5 Star cafe is making
its money this way.
Cllr Keegan, who has visited the cafe, said: You only
have to visit to see whats really going on.
I went to the cafe during the day and there were up to 15
people lying around.
It was jammed packed and the computer screens werent
even on.
I knew straight away that they were all homeless because
they all had their bags with them.
There was a smell because the people werent able to
wash or feed themselves.
There was no toilet or cooking facilities.
Cllr Keegan said the cafe was being used by homeless
people to keep warm during the night.
The cafe isnt a suitable place for them to be sleeping.
I notified the Housing First Intake Team so they will have
to go and check it out.
Health and safety regulations definitely werent taken into
account, never mind insurance.
Its a misuse of premises and a breach of planning
permission.
Something needs to be done to find these people proper
accommodation.
New figures released earlier this week showed that
homeless figures have reached a new high.
In January, a total of 7,167 people (4,760 adults and 2,407
children) were homeless.
This is an increase on the previous record high of 7,148 in
December.
Via Herald
Catherine Devine and Bairbre Ni Bhraonain
https://www.sundayworld.com/news/homeless-being-charged-10-a-night-to-
sleep-in-internet-cafe#.WK8fqBYtV4k.twitter

Right2Water 'Wasteful' users of water


should be charged
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 -

The Right2Water group has said it supports water charges for users
who are seen to use water wastefully.

The campaign group says it is a fair way to apply the so-called


'polluter pays' principle, enforced by the EU.

It has been giving evidence today at the Oireachtas committee on


the future of water services.

Stevie Fitzpatrick from Right2Water says wasteful personal users,


and wasteful commercial users, should all be charged.

"It's our viewpoint that the huge industrial wastage of water through
water companies, distilleries, the pollution of rivers by megafarmers,
that the 'polluter pays' principle has to be applied to everybody, not
just to individual citizens," he told the Oireachtas committee.
All Commercial users and Farmers always pay for water usage. The
charges were only removed from domestic homes when the two new
levies were introduced to make up the shortfall... BUT.. this yearly
charge should NOT now or EVER be payed to the Scam Quango robber
Company IW / business people and Farmers pay your yearly charges to
your Local Co Council. Make sure that IW is Abolished.
Mr Gibney concluded, Right2Water does not believe that a
charge for excessive water usage on domestic households makes
sense. The real waste is in the 41 percent of water that is leaked
before it gets to your tap of which only 3 percent is on the
household side.
Yet, instead of investing in upgrading the infrastructure and fixing
the leaks, some political parties are persistent in pursuing a
fictional line about Irish families wasting water despite their own
expert commission saying, The expert commission has not seen
any evidence that Ireland has particularly high levels of domestic
water usage, and indeed, Irish people are at the lower end of the
spectrum when it comes to comparing water usage to other
European countries.'
Dr Rory Hearne, Researcher & Author of Public Private
Partnerships in Ireland: failed experiment or the way forward?
(2011)
Fears about the privatisation of public water provision was a
central motivating factor behind the Right2Water protest
movement but concerns about the privatisation of water are held
by many other political and civil society groupings. The recently
published Expert Commission on Water Services Report
highlighted a widespread public concern about the potential
privatisation of Irish Water. They stated that public responses to
their consultation expressed concerns that water charges, and
metering of domestic households, could eventually lead to
privatisation. The Report notes that this was sometimes set in the
context of wider concerns about privatisation of public services,
and the commodification of water. However, it is widely known
that various public and private interests have been preparing the
ground for the potential privatisation of the Irish public water
system. In this article I provide evidence that should concern all
those worried about the potential privatisation of Irish public water.
This centres on the on-going implementation of Public Private
Partnerships (PPPs) in the provision of public water infrastructure
in Ireland. These PPPs are a form of creeping privatisation that
makes the full privatisation of our public water system a real
possibility in the future.
This creeping privatisation or outsourcing of key parts of the
public water infrastructure system has been going on for almost
twenty years through PPP projects. These PPPs involve private
companies providing, operating and managing water and waste-
water treatment plants for some of our largest cities and towns.
Worryingly most of these private companies are global
corporations leading the way in water privatisation internationally.
They now control water and waste-water treatment infrastructure
such as the Dublin Ringsend Waste Water Treatment Plant,
(treating waste water from over 1.7 million people), the
Bray/Shanganagh plant (serving a population of 248,000), Sligo
(serving 80,000), Waterford (180,000), and plants in Cork,
Tipperary, Offaly, Meath, and Donegal, amongst others.
According to Dail records there are, in fact, 115 of these PPP
contracts to Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBO), water and
waste-water treatment plants across 232 sites in Ireland. The
contracts are worth a massive total of 1.4bn and most are set to
run up to 2030. It is estimated that Irish Water (previously the local
authorities) are paying out 123 million per annum to the private
companies to cover the operation/maintenance/repayment costs of
these PPP contracts.
Drawing on figures from the Comptroller and Auditor General, Dail
records, and information gathered from the websites of private
water companies, I have compiled information on the twenty
largest water/waste-water treatment plant PPPs in Ireland. The
value of these, at 680 million, is almost half the value of all the
water/waste-water PPPs. This information is presented in the table
below[i].
Table 1 Details of the 20 largest Water/WasteWater PPP
Projects in Ireland, 2015
MEDIA-WRAPPER-START-1
Public Private Partnerships introduced in 1999 in Ireland
PPPs were first introduced in the delivery of public infrastructure
(schools, motorways, social housing, water treatment plants etc) in
Ireland by the Fianna Fail and the PD Government in 1999,
following lobbying by IBEC and the Construction Industry
Federation. Pilot PPP projects were developed in the delivery of
motorways (toll roads), schools, rail (the LUAS), and water and
waste-water treatment plants. New PPPs were developed in these
sectors through the early 2000s and extended to include social
housing regeneration projects.
PPPs are different from public delivery of infrastructure. For
example, in 'traditional' public water and waste-water service and
infrastructure delivery, treatment plants would be designed and
planned in-house within the local authority (and if they required
additional finance, also by the Department of Environment), and
then either directly built by public labour or, in recent decades,
contracted out to a private company to build. Then the
infrastructure was taken and managed by the local authority. By
contrast DBO (or DBOM as they are also referred to) PPPs involve
the outsourcing of the entire process, including design, operation
and maintenance of the infrastructure, to commercial private water
corporations, for contracts usually lasting twenty years. Some
PPPs also include the use of private finance to fund the
infrastructure (referred to as DBOF PPPs).
In the various National Development Plans in the 2000s Irish
governments outlined how they aimed to increase PPPs to 15 per
cent of all public capital investment by the end of that decade. In
2012 the C & AG showed that PPPs to the value of almost 8bn
had been developed in Ireland, mainly in Schools, Roads and
Water/Waste water sectors (figures show that, excluding
water/waste water, 2.3bn has been spent on PPPs, and there is
4.1bn outstanding in commitments to be paid to PPP projects).

Ten ways PPPs are privatisation


A major issue of debate and concern about PPPs has been their
role in the privatisation of public infrastructure and services.
Governments, civil servants and local authorities have been
arguing from the start of PPPs that they are not a form of
privatisation as there is no asset transfer or disposal of assets.
For example the DOE stated in 2010 that, A fundamental principle
of DBOs in the water services sector is that, while the
infrastructure is operated under contract to the water services
authority, it remains at all times in the authoritys ownership.
However, the evidence and research (detailed in my book Public
Private Partnerships in Ireland, which was based on my PhD
research) into the practical outcomes of PPPs in Ireland and
across the world proves conclusively that they are a disturbing
form of privatisation through outsourcing.
In the early 1990s, particularly in the UK and Latin America, PPPs
were promoted by governments, in response to growing public
opposition to privatisation, as a new method of public infrastructure
and service delivery that did not appear as privatisation. But PPPs,
as I will show, actually continue the privatisation and
neoliberalisation of public services. They were strongly promoted
by New Labour in the UK, and by key international institutions,
such as the EU, IMF, OECD and the World Bank.
In the following sections I show ten ways by which PPPs are a
form of privatisation of the public water/waste-water system and
lead to a further embedding of privatisation, marketisation and
commodification processes within the public water/waste-water
system.

1.PPPs mean loss of control to global water corporations


Firstly, there is the loss of control over public water and waste-
water infrastructure from accountable public agencies (local
authorities) to global commercial corporations. Analysis of the data
in Table 1 shows that, of these 20 largest PPPs, 90% (18) of the
companies were foreign multinationals or Irish subsidiaries of
foreign multinationals. This represents a major loss of control over
our public water infrastructure. This is nothing short of
privatisation. When control over public infrastructure is transferred
from the public sector to the private sector, it should be classified
as a form of privatisation. The following section provides an
overview of these private companies.
Veolia Water Ireland has seven of the largest 20 PPP contracts
(35%), at a value of 120 million. These include the two large PPP
water treatment plants (Clareville in Limerick and Barrow
Abstraction, Kildare) and waste-water plants in Castlebar,
Donegal, Mullingar, Wicklow and Dungarvan. But on its website,
Veolia explains that it operates many more treatment plants across
the country. It states that their operating contracts provide water-
related services for a population equivalent of close to 1,000,000
people in the Republic of Ireland operating more than 30 plants
within Ireland, encompassing wastewater, potable water and
sludge treatment. Veolia Water Ireland is a subsidiary of the
French multinational company, Veolia, which is the largest private
water company in the world. Veolia has global revenue of 24bn
and manages 4,245 drinking water plants and 3,300 waste-water
treatment plants globally. It also has the contract to operate the
LUAS and various private waste collection services. Veolia Water
(Ireland) also has non-domestic water metering and billing
contracts with a number of county councils.
The company with the next largest share of these 20 largest PPP
contracts was Aecom, with five projects (25% of the projects -
valued at 99million) including the Balbriggan /Skerries
Wastewater Treatment plant, the Rush/Lusk Wastewater
Treatment plant and the South Tipperary treatment plant. Aecom
(formerly Earthtech Irl) is a multi-billion (revenue of 17.4bn) US
multinational engineering corporation. But it combines financing,
design, building, and, as it states a global network of experts
delivering water and energy, building iconic skyscrapers, planning
new cities, restoring damaged environments, asset management,
cyber security operations, education, healthcare, transport. They
are a complete government infrastructure delivery corporation.
Aecom has approximately 95,000 employees and is listed on the
new York stock exchange.
Next up is Celtic Anglian Water (CAW), which has three projects
and operates the largest waste-water treatment plant in the
country, the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Works, which
provides secondary and tertiary treatment for a population
equivalent of 1,700,000. The contract value is 250 million and
runs up to 2022. In 2001 CAW was the first private company to be
awarded a contract for the operation and maintenance of a Water
Treatment Plant in the Republic of Ireland. It also runs the Galway
County Non-Domestic Metering System (including debt recovery,
billing etc) a contract valued at 10.8 million running up to 2018.
CAW is a subsidiary company of Anglian Water Group, one of the
largest private water companies in England where water is
privatised. Anglian made an operating profit in the UK of 452.6
million for 2014/15.

2.PPPs involve privatisation of policy making


Secondly, PPPs involve the loss of control over public
infrastructure and governance through the privatization
(outsourcing) of the process of policy making including the macro-
level analysis of the effectiveness and appropriateness of PPPs as
a general policy, the design of frameworks for implementation, and
down to the micro-level assessment of Value for Money for
individual projects and the design and planning of the
infrastructure. One of the major private companies given
responsibility for such processes by the Irish state is
PriceWaterHouseCooper (PWC) consultants, one of the big four
global auditing, procurement and accountancy firms. PWC have
played a central role in advising Irish government Departments to
develop PPPs in water and waste water infrastructure. The
Department of Finance appointed PWC in 2001 to review the
effectiveness of the PPP method and, unsurprisingly, they
recommended further expanding the PPP programme. They also
outlined the policy framework required to increase the rate of
implementation of PPPs in Ireland. PWC were also commissioned
by the Department of the Environment in 2001 to develop a
framework for PPPs to be advanced in Ireland in the roads, water
and waste sectors. PWC also carried out the report in November
2011 for the Department of Environment which advised how Irish
Water should be set up (for which PWC were paid a tidy sum of
180,000). They are also involved in evaluating PPP projects on
behalf of local authorities and government Departments to assess
if they are value for money (VFM). The result of their Value for
Money (VFM) Public Sector Benchmark calculation provides the
justification if infrastructure is to be procured through PPPs or the
public sector method. PWC have also been involved in bidding for
water privatization across the world, most notoriously in India
(where the World Bank was found to have unethically supported
them).
There is a clear conflict of interest here as the same private
company which promotes PPPs internationally and is set to gain
financially from the expansion of PPPs is being used by
government and local authorities to advise on the continued use of
PPPs and crucially, assess if PPPs provide VFM or not.

3.No meaningful ownership or control held by the state in


PPPs
Thirdly, while the state claims they still have the ownership of the
infrastructure, the reality of PPPs is that when the infrastructure is
managed, maintained and operated by the private sector in long
term contracts, there is in fact no meaningful ownership or control
by the state. The private sector controls the day-to-day operation
and thus has control over the knowledge and management of the
infrastructure, so in terms of real control and power the private
operator holds it.
This lack of control and the embedding of permanent private
control and profiteering is shown by the experience of the Dublin
(Ringsend) waste-water treatment plant. Local residents have
suffered persistent foul odour problems emanating from the plant
due to inadequate design and equipment failure in the plant. There
has been an on-going dispute between the responsible local
authority, Dublin City Council, and the private operator, Celtic
Anglian Water (CAW), over the extent of the problems and who
should pay for them. CAW argued that DCC would have to pay for
any changes as they would be outside the PPP contract. In the
end, DCC paid CAW 35million to address the problem.
This contradicts the theory of PPPs where they are supposed to
provide a cost benefit to the state by transferring the cost of
dealing with unforseen problems such as this (referred to as risk)
over to the private sector. This case shows that as the private
company now controls the project and thus has the core
knowledge and skills, it can define the issue, the problem and the
cost of rectifying it. It can effectively hold the state to ransom and
force the state to pay significant additional amounts to get any
changes made. That is unless the state is prepared to sanction
and fine the company, or at least stand up to and demand lower
costs from it. But the Irish state has shown that it is unwilling to do
this because it doesnt want to stop future companies engaging in
PPPs. Its part of the price of having a business friendly economy.
The state (the Irish public) keeps picking up the tab and
subsidising the private corporations.

4.When upgrading of infrastructure required PPP contracts


will continue to go to private operators
Fourthly, what will happen in future years when upgrading, or
capacity extension is required in the treatment plants, or new
measures to meet new environmental quality standards outside of
the original contract are required and thus renegotiation of the PPP
contracts? The private operator will hold the control and
knowledge and will be able to charge the state significant
premiums to make changes. The case of the West-Link toll road
demonstrates this point. When the public sector required changes
to the service, it had to pay over half a billion euro to purchase the
PPP contract from the private operator so that it could undertake
the required changes. Furthermore, who is likely to get the new
contracts for upgrading infrastructure? A new private company or
the state itself? The problem with the PPPs is that the private
operator effectively holds a form of monopoly position and thus it is
likely to get it. The is shown by the fact that CAW was awarded a
further DBOM contract to upgrade the Sligo Plant by Irish Water in
April this year.

5.PPPs make private outsourcing of our public water/waste


water infrastructure permanent and full privatisation more
likely
Fifthly, what will happen when it comes to the end of the PPP
contract life in fifteen to twenty years time? Will the plants, as the
state claims, revert back to public ownership when the contract
ends? This is very unlikely if we continue down the PPP
outsourcing path when we have run down and further diminished
the capacity of local authorities to manage our water and waste
water infrastructure. It is more likely to stay in the control of private
operators into perpetuity. This shows how PPPs make private
outsourcing of our public water/waste water infrastructure
permanent and thus are likely to lead to a continued and
deepening privatisation and contracting out.
This is also shown by the fact that DBO PPPs appear to be the
only option being made available to (and preferred by) local
authorities (now Irish Water) and there is no longer a public sector
alternative being made available. Thus PPP privatisation is the
only option for upgrading and providing new water services
infrastructure. The 2010 Department of Environment Report on the
Value for Money for Review of the Water Services Investment
Programme 2007-2009, states this explicitly:
in the case of water services infrastructure, the DBO model is the
preferred procurement route in the case of works involving the
provision of treatment plants subject to completion. This review
also recommends deepening private involvement further by
involving private finance in the future in relation to some large
scale projects.
Therefore existing PPPs lay the foundation for the further
development of PPPs in this area as is shown by the trend towards
the increased use of PPPs over time. Getting private companies
into design, build, operate and manage the water/waste water
infrastructure is thus the thin edge of a wedge that opens up the
potential for complete privatisation.
The private companies themselves highlight this as they use their
existing contracts to try get more PPPs. Veolia explains how they
leverage the experience, stability and geographical coverage of
their existing 20-year PPP contracts in order to offer present and
future customers a cost effective outsourcing solution. While CAW
is even more bold in their ambitions stating that they aim to
become the leading water and waste water service provider in
Ireland. Is that not the complete private corporate takeover of the
public water infrastructure system?
Ultimately these DBO PPPs make it even more straightforward
and easier (and thus more likely) to privatise water/waste water
infrastructure in the future because the only public aspect
remaining to be privatised is the official ownership of the
infrastructure. It is only a Ministers signature away from the sale
and complete transfer to the private sector.

6.PPPs commodify and marketise public infrastructure


Sixth, PPPs also commodify and marketise this public
infrastructure by creating a new market in the provision of public
water/waste-water infrastructure, through the conversion of the
entire process of the provision of public water/waste-water
infrastructure into a contract which is a tradeable asset or
commodity. They thus open up public infrastructure and assets as
income generating opportunities for the private companies.
For example, EPS, one of the Irish private water companies that
has two waste-water PPP contracts (and an annual turnover
nearing 70 million) explains how they have been at the forefront
of the development of the Irish water market through successive
National Development Plan cycles and they have nurtured a
market leading share of the Design-Build-Operate (DBO) market in
Ireland. Similarly Celtic Anglian Water refer to the public
infrastructure as an asset. CAW explains that it operates in the
development of water and wastewater assets - providing water
supply, wastewater treatment, plant operation and maintenance
services. So these private water companies are quite clear how
PPPs are a marketisation or market-creating process of
commodifying public water/waste water infrastructure.
And make no mistake about it, water/waste-water infrastructure
provision is a massive potential market. There are approximately
973 public water supplies and approximately 500 waste water
treatment plants in Ireland. That means that based on 115 DBO
contracts, approximately 20% of our waste water treatment plants
are already part privatised/outsourced. And given the need to
upgrade treatment plants to meet environmental quality standards
major investment is required into the future in treatment
plants. You can also add upgrades and improvements required for
the entire water treatment network on top of that. We can see
therefore how this whole area is a potentially very large and
lucrative future market for the private water companies. And this
requirement to upgrade this infrastructure such as water and waste
water treatment plants is being eyed up as a big opportunity for
profit by many companies. The Irish Times reported earlier this
year that The Denis OBrien-owned industrial services
group Actavo is likely to seek more work from State utility Irish
Water as the State utility moved ahead with plans to renew the
Republics water treatment and supply systems, Actavo would bid
for contracts to work on the various projects that this is likely to
involve.

7. Water infrastructure becomes commodities traded on


financial markets-no democracy
Seventh, further marketization takes place as the PPP contracts
themselves are a tradeable commodity on financial markets. PPP
contracts and companies are bought and sold for profit all the time
on financial markets and international asset markets, between
various private equity investors, hedge funds, and corporations.
They are often loaded with debt from other companies and then
asset sweating is undertaken whereby the new owners (financial
speculators) dont invest in the project but extract as much profit as
possible (through, as I later explain, reducing quality of service,
workers pay and conditions, increasing user charges, increasing
the cost charged to the state etc).
As I wrote in my book this also has implications for the democratic
provision and accountability of public services: "The process of
buying and selling public assets as internationally traded
commodities could have significant implications not just for the
provision of public services and infrastructure, but for the
democratic control by national governments over the services for
which they have the responsibility to provide to their public."

8.PPPs do not provide Value for Money as profits extracted by


private sector
Eighth, PPPs are also a deeper form of privatisation than simple
public asset sales because they involve the on-going subsidisation
of private corporations by the state and the public (through
contract fees, tolls, user charges) for decades through the PPP
contracts. Thus PPPs provide huge profits to the private
corporations. Take Veolia Water Ireland, for example, it increased
its revenue from 36.6 million in 2014 to 40.3 million in 2015.
Their profit was 0.8 million in 2015 and 1.2 million in 2014.
Financial data for CAW shows that in 2015 it had 30.1 million
turnover and made 4.4 million in profit (in 2014 it made 6.6mil in
profit). Thats just two companies and based on Dail figures private
water/waste water companies are receiving a revenue of at least
123 million a year from the Irish tax payer.
This profit extraction is a key part of the explanation of why PPPs
are actually more expensive than traditional delivery. How can they
provide VFM when huge profits are being extracted? This is a
significant additional cost that is not included or measured in the
VFM calculations. This asset grab by private corporations is a
loss of resources and value for the Irish public as they have to pay
for this profit, which does not exist to the same extent in traditional
public procurement (provision) of water/waste-water infrastructure.
Dr. Vandana Shiva has written about this in relation to the
privatisation of Delhis water supply in India through a PPP water
treatment plant operated by Ondeo Degremont (a subsidiary of
French company Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux Water Divisionthe
water giant of the world):
Suez is not bringing in private foreign investment. It is
appropriating public investment. Public-private partnerships are, in
effect, private appropriation of public investment. But the financial
costs are not the highest costs. The real costs are social and
ecological. Interestingly, Ondeo Degremont constructed (and is
possibly still operating) Corks largest waste-water treatment plant.
The Comptroller and Auditor General has found that PPPs are 8-
13% more expensive than traditional public procurement. Reeves
(2011) found that for a number of water based PPPs the initial
estimation of VFM under PPP was revised downwards from 9.5
per cent to 0.8 per cent (of whole-life cost under traditional
procurement) following consultation with stakeholders including
trade unions. In another case Reeves (2013) shows that after
consultation, estimated VFM was revised from 2.3 per cent in
favour of PPP to 2.25 per cent in favour of traditional procurement.
These revisions were attributable to a number of shortcomings in
the original VFM analyses including the omission of relevant costs
including: (i) costs incurred following the re-deployment of existing
labour if PPP was adopted; (ii) transaction costs; (iii) and the costs
of monitoring and supervising the PPP contract over the 20 year
period.
There is another democratic deficit at the heart of PPPs which
links to their inability to prove they provide Value for Money. The
Public Sector Benchmark (PSB) VFM calculation (often carried out
by pro-PPP companies like PWC) is not available for public
analysis due to commercial sensitivity. Yet this is the key
evidence that justifies PPPs- but we cannot see it. Therefore there
is no evidenced way of showing these projects actually are value
for money.

9. PPPs involve reduction in workers pay, conditions and


rights.
The ninth way in which PPPs are a form of privatization is the
reduction in workers pay, conditions and rights. A key method by
which PPPs are used to reduce costs is through such a reduction
in the conditions and pay of employees. As with other forms of
privatisation and outsourcing PPPs have been associated with a
degrading of workers conditions and, in particular, a tendency to
refuse trade union recognition. For example, in 2013 it was
reported that an employee in the Shanganagh PPP Waste Water
Treatment Plant was dismissed 'for trade union organised activity.
Workers there organised a strike as the employers refused to
recognise the trade union and there were other issues around fair
pay for hours and shifts worked. The private operator of the PPP
plant is SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd, which is a joint
venture between the Irish construction company, Sisk, and
Spanish companies Dragados and Drace. However, the workers
were, in fact, employed by a separate subcontracted agency. Thus
we see how PPPs further the process of the casualisation and
downgrading of workers conditions and undermine and reduce
hard-fought rights and conditions of public sector employees such
as trade union recognition and collective bargaining. Through
PPPs it is the state (which, of course, should be protecting and
promoting workers rights) that is playing a central role in driving
down workers conditions.

10.PPPs support water charges and furthers privatisation


The tenth and final way PPPs support privatisation is their
promotion and support for user charges such as water charges
and the way in which this furthers the privatisation process within
the water system.
The introduction of user fees/charges for public services has been
central to the neoliberal policy agenda which is about convincing
the public to accept that they have to pay for public services
through user fees, even if they were previously paid for from
general taxation and were free at the point of delivery.
PPPs have already facilitated the introduction and intensification of
this policy through the introduction of user fees for toll roads. The
Irish state has supported this process of profiting from PPPs. In
one of the interviews in my research a senior civil servant working
in a Central Government PPP unit told me that it has to be a quid
pro-quo that the private sector gets profit, while it might cost more
for the user. There has to be profit, otherwise it doesnt work.
Indeed, the Irish government has promoted the unlimited potential
for the development of PPPs funded by user fees. Assistant
Secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach, Mary Doyle,
speaking at the 3rd Annual PPP Policy Forum (2007) explained
that, since Ireland is the home of the entrepreneur there is no limit
on any projects that can be undertaken by PPP where they are
funded entirely by using charges. The roads, schools, waste and
water/waste-water sectors demonstrate how, because the private
sector required an income stream (profit) as the basis of its
involvement, the use of PPPs necessitated, the commercialisation
of, and private-capital control over, public resources and assets.
As a representative of the Department of Environment explained to
me in an interview:
The private sector may be able to generate additional revenues
from third parties, thereby reducing the cost of any public-sector
subvention required. Additional revenue may be generated through
the use of spare capacity or the disposal of surplus assets
Through the application of these income-generating mechanisms,
PPPs facilitate the implementation of a central neoliberal policy
objective of creating unlimited market opportunities for the private
sector within public governance, services and infrastructure
(Bourdieu, 1998; Brenner and Theodore, 2002; Harvey, 2005;
Whitfield, 2006).
And, as we see more and more PPP contracts made by Irish water
this increases the financial commitment to PPP companies and,
thus in the future, an argument could be made for introducing
and/or increasing water charges in order to pay for these contracts
with PPP companies. A revenue stream will be required to pay
the private operators. Thus PPPs open up the argument and
requirement for the introduction/increase of water charges and the
introduction of water charges opens up, and provides, the revenue
stream to pay private operators. PPPs and water charges are,
therefore, a mutually reinforcing process as the introduction of one
leads to arguments in favour of the necessity of the introduction of
the other. And they both provide key steps towards the further
privatisation of the Irish public water system.

Conclusion
Overall then we can see from the evidence presented here the
dangerous amount of power and influence that global corporations
are being given through PPP projects in the water/waste-water
infrastructure in Ireland, and the way in which the state is actively
facilitating this neoliberalisation of water governance. Private
corporations, facilitated by the Irish state, are imposing their
corporate model as the future for government and public service
and infrastructure delivery. It is a dystopian future for citizens
whereby private corporations will provide and profit from (and
speculatively trade on financial markets) all aspects of government
including public services and infrastructure through highly
profitable contracts paid for by nation states and local government.
It is the ultimate privatisation and commodification of all public
goods and infrastructure. This is the neoliberal project laid bare.
What David Harvey describes as accumulation by dispossession.
It is about taking the resources (and assets) away from state public
services and infrastructure which benefit the working and middle
classes and instead funnelling them to the wealthy and private
corporations. PPPs are playing a strategic role in this process of
capturing public services and assets for private investment and
wealth accumulation. The global and EU trade liberalisation rules
and new treaties such as CETA and TTIP also support PPPs by
further obliging national governments to liberalise markets for
services and infrastructure on a global scale.
An excellent article critiquing the impact of PPPs and water
privatisation in India describes the process of privatisation through
PPPs which can also be applied to the Irish case:
But whatever the nuances, although formal ownership continues
to nominally vest with public entities, all these public-private
partnerships are undoubtedly different forms of privatization, with
public bodies ceding varying degrees of control over quantity,
quality, coverage and pricing to corporate bodies. Since the private
party is in the business for profit, water in such privatized utilities is
always viewed, valued and managed in terms of its price.
Whatever the specific form of involvement of private players, water
moves from being a common good to a commodity, with all that
this implies.
The evidence shows, therefore, that PPPs are a complex form of
intensive privatization, marketization and commodification of the
Irish public water and waste-water infrastructure system. Private-
sector involvement has not guaranteed a better-quality service and
additionally, the private operators profit maximisation
requirements has resulted in the running down of service quality,
workers conditions and turning the assets into commodities to be
profited from. They ensure big profits for global water and
governance/development corporations and financial investors and
rising costs and ineffective services for public service users, and
the erosion of workers rights. Thus they contribute to the
exacerbation of economic inequality.
The values and ideals of social rights that inform public-sector
values and priorities are undermined by the market ethos of PPP
policy making. Under this process, public service users are
converted into clients and consumers and a revenue stream. All
of this evidence shows how the pursuit of PPPs are an ideological
policy. The evidence does not support the use of PPPs in public
water and waste water infrastructure provision. They are being
pursued principally because of policy makers adherence to (and
belief in) neoliberal privatisiation policies rather than any evidence
based justification.

Remunicipalisation
In recent years governments and local authorities across the
world, in response to the failure of water privatisation such as
increased water charges and poor service delivery by the private
companies, and under pressure from citizen campaigns asserting
the human right to water, have started a process of
remunicipalisation taking water and waste-water services back
into public management. Our public water future: The global
experience with remunicipalisation, a book published last year
shows the growing wave of cities putting water back under public
control with 235 cases of water remunicipalisation in 37
countries, affecting over 100 million people, between 2000 and
2015. The number of cases doubled in the 2010-2015 period
compared with 2000-2010. France, a country that spearheaded
water privatisation and PPPs has lead the way with 94 cases of
remunicipalisation. Also recently a large majority of the Barcelona
City Council voted to end the private management of water and
support the remunicipalisation of the water service in of Barcelona.
Barcelona En Comu, the new citizens movement who holds the
Mayorality of Barcelona, promoted the measure as it was one of
the most popular among citizens in their participatory process
carried out to define the Municipal Action Plan (the plan that
guides city policy). Barcelona En Com, believes that water is a
human right, a basic service and a common good that should be
under public, democratic control.
Slovenia also recently amended its constitution to make access to
drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and stop it being
commercialised.
The new article in the constitution reads that Water resources
represent a public good that is managed by the state. Water
resources are primary and durably used to supply citizens with
potable water and households with water and, in this sense, are
not a market commodity.
It was reported in the Guardian that the Slovenian Prime Minister
encouraged the change because: people should protect water
the 21st centurys liquid gold at the highest legal leveland that
Slovenian water has very good quality and, because of its value,
in the future it will certainly be the target of foreign countries and
international corporations appetitesAs it will gradually become a
more valuable commodity in the future, pressure over it will
increase and we must not give in. Slovenia is the first European
Union country to include the right to water in its constitution, while
15 other countries across the world had already done so.
The on-going implementation of PPPs shows that the Irish public
water system has already been part-privatised/outsourced and
without a change of direction and policy it is in danger of being
further marketised and privatised. This lends support to the case
being made for a Referendum that could enshrine the Irish water
system as a public good and human right in the Constitution and
thus provide a constitutional guarantee on the public ownership of
our water. The Expert Commission found that the most commonly
expressed preferred method for confirming Irish Water in public
ownership was by a constitutional amendment, and that the
provision for a plebiscite, as provided for in the existing legislation
did not provide the necessary level of guarantee.

Right2Water has proposed the following wording that could be


inserted into the Constitution to enshrine this:
The Government shall be collectively responsible for the
protection, management and maintenance of the public water
system. The Government shall ensure in the public interest
that this resource remains in public ownership and
management.
The passing of such a referendum is an essential step in stopping
the full privatisation of our public water system and, in particular,
would put a halt to the back door creeping privatisation of through
PPPs in water and waste-water infrastructure and support the
remunicipalisation (taking back into public control) of the existing
PPP water projects.

Sources:
Hearne, R. (2011) Public Private Partnerships in Ireland: failed
experiment or the way forward? Manchester University Press
Available at:
http://www.academia.edu/30178583/Trends_in_historical_develop
ment_of_the_Irish_state_public_services_and_infrastructure
Hearne (2012) http://politico.ie/society/public-private-partnerships-
ireland-failed-experiment-or-way-forward
Hearne (2009) Origins, Development and Outcomes of Public
Private Partnerships in Ireland: The Case of PPPs in Social
Housing Regeneration Dr Rory Hearne
http://www.combatpoverty.ie/publications/workingpapers/2009-
07_WP_PPPsIn...
Alan Kelly, 28th April 2015, Dail Eireann,
https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2015-04-28a.1222
Comptroller and Auditor General (2016) Briefing Note on PPPs
https://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/corres
pondence/2016meetings/meeting4-21072016/PAC32-R-42-B-(B)--
-Briefing-Note-on-PPPs-from-CAG.pdf
Comptroller and Auditor General (2011) Annual Report
http://www.audgen.gov.ie/documents/annualreports/2011/report/en
/Chapter6_01.pdf
Irish Times (2008) Report recommends upgrade of Ringsend
waste plant
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/report-recommends-upgrade-of-
ringsend-was...
Hell Bent on Water Privatisatin in Dehli
(http://newsclick.in/india/hell-bent-water-privatization-delhi)
Oireachtas (2013) Public Private Partnerships Data, July 2013,
http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/Deba
tesWebPack.nsf/takes/dail2013071600112
Reeves, E. (2014) Public Capital Investment and Public Private
Partnerships in Ireland 2000-2014: A Review of the Issues and
Performance
https://www.socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/attach/policy-issue-
article/4004/2014-11-18-eoinreeves-investmentandppps.pdf
Shiva, V. (2006) RESISTING WATER PRIVATISATION,
BUILDING WATER DEMOCRACY,
http://www.globalternative.org/downloads/shiva-water.pdf
The 2010 Department of Environment Report on the Value for
Money for Review of the Water Services Investment Programme
2007-2009
The Guardian (2016) Slovenia Adds Water to Constitution
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/18/slovenia-
adds-water-...

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/right2water-wasteful-
users-of-water-should-be-charged-778182.html

Services Investment Programme (WSIP) 2010-2012, which is a three-
year rolling ... with a value of 1.8 billion and a further 190 schemes
and water ... report which sets out the scope of the project. ... for
Money Review of the Water Services Investment Programme 2007-
2009 ...
http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-
files/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad,27193,en.pdf

Irish Water Phase II Report - Department of
Housing, Planning ...
http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-
files/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad,32001,en.pdf
Water Services Investment Programme 2010 -
2012 - Department of ...
http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-
files/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad%2C22735%2Cen.pdf

Report on Water Provision - Houses of the


Oireachtas
http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/final-water-report.pdf
PRESENTATION TO JOINT COMMITTEE ON
ENVERONMENT ... - Siptu
Investment Unit ofthe Department of Environment. ... Through the
Water Services Investment programme the state provides
http://siptu.ie/media/media_15350_en.pdf

Right2Water campaign accused of


major u-turn
The Right2Water campaign have been accused of doing a major u-
turn after it said that those who abuse or waste water should face
charges, writes Daniel McConnell, Political Editor.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The concession by the group, which has been vehemently opposed
to water charges, was seen as a major climbdown by the
Government.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney, responding to an Irish Examiner


online report of the comments, described the u-turn as a interesting
development.
Addressing the Dil's new Water committee, representatives of the
Right2Water group agreed that charges should apply in cases where
people use excessive amounts of water.

Under questioning from Fianna Fil's Barry Cowen, Stevie Fitzpatrick


and David Gibney were pressed about previous comments from
Brendan Ogle, the high-profile spokesman for the Right2Water
campaign.
Mr Ogle, like Mr Gibney, speaks for the Right2Water movement. He
was asked specifically if he opposed charging people for excessive
use and he said he was not. Does the Right2Water movement share
that viewpoint?, Mr Cowen asked.

Mr Fitzpatrick responded It is the viewpoint.

If this committee was in a position to agree a process by which


people who use excessive amounts, in the opinion of this committee,
were charged, is Right2Water happy with that? asked Mr Cowen.

Yes, was the response from Mr Fitzpatrick.

Mr Cowen asked at what level did the witnesses think was


appropriate to consider excessive.

Let us say the Minister said 123 litres a day was acceptable and we
suggested the limit should be two or three times that amount and
recommended a swimming pool take for beyond that amount. How
would the witnesses penalise people who use more than that
amount of water? he asked.

Mr Gibney responded: In terms of swimming pools, I live in a


community that does not have a swimming pool and I do not know
anyone who owns a swimming pool.
Right2Water is not opposed to the Government introducing a
swimming pool tax.

There might be a provision in terms of commercial water charges


and taxes. If we want to address waste then let us address areas
where water is wasted.

As much as 41% of water is lost through leaks.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Cowen, said the statement by the


Right2Water spokespeople was truly significant.

Mr Gibney said the Government has given 2.7bn in tax cuts in


recent years while funding for water services has been cut.

If you want to fund water properly, stop giving away tax cuts, so
let's address the core issue, he said.

Mr Gibney questioned the Government's strategy of reducing the


Universal Social Charge and he singled out Bank of Ireland boss
Richie Boucher as to how much he pays.

Richie Boucher, who works for Bank of Ireland, pays 63,000 in USC
because he is a high earner. That is equivalent to a salary for two
nurses, Mr Gibney said.

Committee chairman Padraig O Ceidigh told Mr Gibney it was not


appropriate to name individuals like that.

Mr Gibney was forced to apologise.

Fine Gael's Martin Heydon accused Mr Gibney of being opposed to


cutting taxes for ordinary workers.

He said that 6% of the highest earners in this country pay 49% of the
income tax and USC, which is a fairly substantial figure.

They are also the key people who drive business and economic
activity in this country, said Mr Heydon.

I am surprised that Mr Gibney is opposed to cuts in income tax for


ordinary workers, he added.
TD who broke litter laws with 'keep the
recovery going' posters bids to have
fine reduced
uesday, February 21, 2017

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has launched legal proceedings to appeal
the severity of a 3,150 fine for breaking litter laws with his keep
the recovery going posters.

The 29-year-old Dublin North West TD and Public Accounts


Committee member was fined in October at Dublin District Court on
nine counts under the 1997 Litter Pollution Act in relation to his
posters.
Today his barrister successfully applied to Judge John Brennan at the
district court for a two-week extension to allow Deputy Rock lodge
an appeal against the severity of the fine. The appeal will go before
the circuit court on a later date.

The charges were brought by Dublin City Council.

During the district court hearing on Oct. 4 last, evidence was given
by three litter wardens and the court was given photos of the posters
including ones with the TD's picture and a slogan saying keep the
recovery going and other information about his availability at his
clinic on January 14 last year.

The court heard that two posters were unlawfully put up at Prospect
Road on February 3 last.

Litter wardens spotted four more of the posters on January 28 at:


Iona Road, Griffith Avenue and Drumcondra Road. They found
another one of his posters at Collins Avenue on January 26 last.

The general election was not called until February 3. Council litter
wardens also found one of his election posters that was left up too
long after the February 26 vote.
The offence can result in a fine of up to 4,000 per offence. Nine
fines each worth 350 were imposed along with an order that Rock
would have to pay 221 in legal costs.

Mr Rock, who was elected to the Dil in the 2016 General Election, is
the youngest Fine Gael Dublin TD, representing the Ballymun
Electoral Area, which includes Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Whitehall,
Beaumont, Santry, Finglas and Ballymun.

In 2006, the DCU graduate, with an address at Hardiman Road,


Drumcondra, Dublin 9, was selected to take part in an intern ship
with US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

'Human excrement' found in children's


playground in Co Cork
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Human excrement' was found in a Cork playground yesterday by a
visitor, a local politican has claimed.

The faeces was found in one of the activity toys in Clonakilty


playground, that children use on a regular basis.

Speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today show


Community Mayor of Clonakilty Mr Anthony McDermott said: I work
for the Town Council and I got a call to say there was some sort of a
mess up in the playground
When I went up and saw what it was I nearly got sick and especially
because at the time the playground was full of loads of small
children...

Inside in one of the blue bowls that the kids sit into it was full of
human excrement, which was absolutely disgusting to be honest.

Barry Cowen laying the trap for Right2Water to fall right into.
No regards to the exemption. Just "excessive use" charges...
Now if R2W are smart enough, they will run with the 9.4
exemption, and completely and unanimously reject the
"excessive use" trap...
If not then watch out folks.... This better NOT be R2W's policy
or a lot of people will be very unhappy.
Clarification is needed ASAP before Cowen and the rest of the
cabal on the committee vote to bring in "excessive use
charges" because of what was apparently agreed to in this
video...
I hope that R2W have learned that you never go into the snake
pit unprepared..
~Belenus
http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=34652&&CatID
=127

Just think....
Meehole Martin was a Minister in Government between 1997
and 2011, that's 14 years, FOURTEEN YEARS, as a Minister
who had an active role in creating the Ireland of today....
Minister for Education (1997-2000)zMinister for Health (2000-
04)zMinister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (2004-
2008)zMinister for Foreign Affairs (2008-January 2011)
And people think that he's the answer to your problems?

Meeting of the Joint Committee on Future Funding of Domestic


Water Services, Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Monday, 17 September 2012


A LETTER TO TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY FROM THE
BALLYHEA PROTESTERS

THE BALLYHEA & CHARLEVILLE BANK BONDHOLDER


BAILOUT PROTEST GROUP

EASY DECISIONS, TOUGH DECISIONS


Dear Enda;
EASY DECISIONS:

Hit the young cut the education budget.


Hit the old cut home-help hours, attack the free-travel pass.
Hit the sick cut the healthcare budget, frontline staff and
services badly affected.
Hit the most vulnerable cut the Special Needs budgets
across the board.
Hit the poor introduce universal tax after universal tax, from
increased VAT to Home Tax

TOUGH DECISIONS

Hit the political class slash numbers, salaries, allowances,


pensions at national & local level.
Hit the high earners introduce (even temporarily) a third rate
of tax.
Hit the multi-national corporations increase (again, even
temporarily) the tax rate.
Hit the overpaid in the upper echelons of the public sector
take on the Croke Park agreement and reduce numbers,
salaries, pensions and conditions of those in upper and middle
management.
Hit the Irish Financial Services Centre, one of the many
centres in which international money-laundering and multi-
national tax avoidance is enabled and where the only markets
that now seem to matter live and thrive even a minimal tax
on every transaction would be a major boost to our coffers.
Revisit and rewrite the licensing agreements for recovery of
OUR oil and gas.
Invest in public infrastructure broadband, water distribution,
roads, railways, schools etc.
Reform the social welfare system there HAS to be a floor,
and current base-line rates shouldnt be touched; there should
also be a ceiling, a maximum going into any household.
Further, there should also be real incentive for people to
return to work, with benefit transition periods etc.
Take on the ECB. Oh yes, take on the ECB, expose them to the
world for what theyve done in forcing on Ireland a bank
bailout policy that even the EuroZone leadership now
acknowledges has failed, and demand repayment to this state
of the 69.6bn (thats over 15,000 for every resident), which
that policy has so far cost us.

EASY DECISIONS, TOUGH DECISIONS. Since your election in


late February 2011, despite all the get-tough pre-election
promises and your hollow post-election spin, this Fine
Gael/Labour coalition government has followed exactly the line
of the failed Fianna Fil/Green government that you
succeeded, taken only the easy decisions.

This was NOT a situation you inherited; an inheritance is a


bequest, you requested this job in fact you demanded this
job. Well, on the back of the promises you made we gave it to
you. Unless you were utterly incompetent you knew what you
were getting into. Now, 82 weeks into the job, 82 weeks into
our protest, were asking you stop complaining, do your job.

The Ballyhea/Charleville Bank Bondholder Bailout Protest


relates specifically to the final item in the above lists. For 82
weeks weve been marching against that ECB-enforced
extortion of tens of billions from the Irish people. On October
1st, for example, AIB (which we own 99.8%) pays an
unguaranteed bond of 1bn. This year, 2012, the total bank
bond payments will be just short of 20bn; next year its
another 17bn, in the years 2012/13/14/15 its a total of over
55bn, the lifeblood being drained from the Irish economy
through the banks, the people being crushed.

You say youre taking the tough decisions lets see you take
on the ECB. Get out from behind the coat-tails of Spain and
Italy and do your own negotiating for your own people. If
youre unable to do that, do the honourable thing and leave
the stage.

At the end of June you and your government announced a


seismic shift, what we like to call the eruption of Mount Enda
(you'll pardon us a little levity in these bleak times). Take that
opening line from that statement and run with it - We affirm
that it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks
and sovereigns.

That vicious circle, imposed on us in a blatant abuse of its


own financial muscle by the ECB, has cost Ireland 69.6bn.
On our behalf, on behalf of the people who elected you to
fight our cause in Europe, demand that money back.

Demand that the remaining Promissory Notes, all 30.6bn of


which was printed to pay off bondholders in two zombie
banks, not a cent of which went to the Irish people, be
destroyed.
Demand that the billions destroyed from the two Notes
already paid be reprinted.
Demand that the 21bn taken from our Pension Reserve Fund
to bail out banks be repaid, either from the ESM or by allowing
the Irish Central Bank print that money.
Demand that any outstanding bank-debt-related loan from
Europe be written off, and all interest paid be returned.
Demand an end right across Europe to this odious practice of
socialising private bank debt there is nothing more anti-
social.

Do that, Enda, and you'll be doing the job you promised to do,
the job you were elected to do; that was your mandate.

In the week in which 600,000 hours of home help hours are


cut a bond of 600,000,000 is paid by Anglo; on next Monday
week, October 1st, AIB pays a bond unsecured,
unguaranteed of 1bn; you can stand over this, these are the
values for which you want to be remembered?

Stand up and fight Enda, stand up and fight for all of this and
well be behind you. Stay hiding behind the coat-tails of
Mariano Rajoy and you dont just dishonour your pledge, you
dishonour your people.

SIGNED:
Frances O'Brien Pat O'Brien
Phillip Ryan Darragh Ryan
Pat Moloney Cathleen
Quealey
Fiona Buckley Rob
Fitzpatrick
Ellen ORegan Ellen
Morrissey
Diarmuid O'Flynn Diarmaid
Cadhla
David Walsh Eileen Walsh
Michael O'Brien Linda Bowles
Derek Griffin Lynette
OFarrell
Johnny Ryan Dave Ryan
Eithne Keating Dolly Madigan

Mr Draghi, what are


you afraid of? Release
#TheGreekFiles! Feb 20, 2017
DiEM25 launches #TheGreekFiles, a campaign to support a freedom of


information request for legal documents on the ECBs closure of Greeces
banks in 2015.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qttt9OHiGG8

Council to produce
report on housing
scheme abuse
claims
By Enda Cunningham -
February 24, 2017

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council is


preparing a report on claims that some senior staff
secured affordable homes, despite not meeting criteria
to qualify to purchase them.
Senator Trevor Clochartaigh said yesterday
(Thursday) that he has received further information
on the matter, and will be reporting the matter to the
Garda.
Several councillors and local authority staff have
branded the senator irresponsible for raising the
matter under Seanad privilege [legal protection
afforded members in the Houses of the Oireachtas]
and tarring all employees with the one brush.
Claims were made in the Seanad last week by the
senator that some staff had been able to purchase
affordable housing despite not meeting criteria for
qualification and that higher-spec homes had been
cherry-picked.
The senator told the Galway City Tribune yesterday
that he has been given further documentation in
relation to the matter and is currently poring over it.
He confirmed that he will definitely be passing his
files on to the Garda.
Ive had more documents sent to me by someone
else. I have to look at the nature of what Ive been
sent and I will definitely be contacting the Garda. I
still have to make a decision on whether it would be
appropriate to forward my information to the Council,
as they would be investigating themselves, said
Senator Clochartaigh.
According to the Council, the senators claims led to
harassment and abuse of staff at City Hall since last
week including one incident where a man had to be
escorted from the reception area by an off-duty
Garda.
This week, the Council said a report is being prepared
by Mr McGrath on the operation of the Affordable
Housing Scheme in the Council following the very
broad and very damaging allegations in the Seanad.
The Galway City Tribune understands that a total of
711 houses purchased in the city under Part V
Affordable Housing Scheme (developers had to hand
over 20% of the units under each planning
permission) between 1999 and 2009, of which seven
went to Council staff.
A local authority source said: There are no questions
in relation to those seven allocations, the files have
been looked at and there is no issue.
Read further coverage of the allegations in this weeks
Galway City Tribune.
http://connachttribune.ie/council-produce-report-housing-scheme-abuse-
claims-711/