'Enough is enough' - Irish musicians help seize disused office block in Dublin to rehouse homeless

'Enough is enough' - Irish musicians help seize disused office block in Dublin to rehouse homeless

IRISH musicians have helped seize a disused office block in Dublin City Centre to rehouse and help the homeless on the streets. 

Apollo House, on Dublin's Poolbeg Street was seized last Friday by over 100 'concerned citizens' for Home Sweet Home, a campaign to end homelessness in Ireland run by the Irish Housing Network.

Amongst the 100 citizens were Christy Moore, Glen Hansard, Damien Dempsey, Kodaline, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Hozier, director Jim Sheridan as well as charities and trade unionists.

Apollo House is owned by NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency, created by the Irish Government in 2009, and has been abandoned for six years with plans to demolish it.

In a video explaining the campaign, director Jim Sheridan says "enough is enough," while singer Damien Dempsey says the campaign "will end homelessness."

In an interview on The Late Late Show, singer Glen Hansard explained the reason they've taken the building for the homeless.

"We're involved in an act of civil disobedience. We've taken a building that essentially belongs to the people of Ireland and has been lying empty.

"The Government will house 200 people this Christmas, but between the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal there's 260 people tonight homeless and what we'd like to do is bridge the gap.

"Can you imagine walking home Christmas Eve and there's no homeless people on the streets? That's what we're trying to do.

"We've got a building, we've got beds, we've got a lot of people volunteering.

"This is a NAMA owned building which is essentially - if anyone knows their stuff and pays tax - that's essentially our building.

"We're just going to take it for a few months."

Over the weekend, Apollo House has been inundated by donations of bags overflowing with tinned foods, pillows, duvets and clothing along with items of furniture in support of the campaign.

Spokeswoman for the Irish Housing Network Rosie Leonard told The Irish Times, that numbers staying in the building would increase as “maintenance issues were resolved” and office space made suitable for bedrooms.

Electricity and water had also been connected and turned on in the building, and people staying in Apollo House have access to private washing and cooking facilities.

A total of 31 homeless people spent the night in Apollo House last night while the previous night, the disused office building accommodated 21 men and women.

As of this afternoon, Apollo House is operating at capacity and the campaign has asked people to halt donations to the House as they are overflowing and need to concentrate on finding trained volunteers.

Update from the Apollo

We're currently running at maximum capacity and we can't admit any new residents, and when we...

Posted by Irish Housing Network on Monday, 19 December 2016

The Irish Housing Network are also fundraising to end homelessness now. You can donate here. 

Watch the video for the launch of Home Sweet Home with Irish musicians below...