Receivers seek to take back Apollo

Receivers appointed over Apollo House in Dublin City centre have launched a High Court action aimed at regaining possession of the property.

Last weekend, the building on Tara St and Townsend St was taken over by activists and offered as accommodation to the homeless.

As a result, insolvency practioners Tom O’Brien and Simon Coyle, who were appointed joint receivers over the building by a Nama- related company, NALM, in 2014, have launched proceedings seeking to end the occupation.

The receivers say they are “sympathetic to the plight of the homeless”, but the occupation of the 10-storey office block organised by the Home Sweet Home coalition is illegal and a form of political protest.

They also say a number of serious health and safety risks make the building unsuitable for use as a shelter.

Rossa Fanning, for the receivers, told the court that, due to the occupation the building, which has been vacant since Mid-2015, no longer has fire insurance and that its public liability insurance will lapse in mid-January unless the receivers are able to regain possession.

His clients have also been in contact with Dublin City Council, which told them that there is suitable accommodation in the city centre for the number of rough sleepers in the city. Three new hostels have come on stream in the last few weeks, proving an addition 210 beds for the homeless.

Those facilities are run by professionals and are providing the proper support and services for the homeless counsel said.

As a result of the occupation, the receivers, who want to sell the property, are seeking injunctions requiring all those in occupation to vacate the premises and that they are restrained from trespassing on the property.

At the High Court yesterday Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted lawyers for the receivers permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on solicitors purporting to represent the occupiers.

The judge, noting the health and safety concerns, adjourned the case until today. He also said an official from Dublin City Council dealing with the homeless situation should attend the hearing so that they may assist the court.

Mr Fanning said his clients were sensitive to the issue of homelessness and had not rushed into court seeking orders.

Despite media reports that occupiers were prepared to meet the receivers, no such meeting had taken place.

Contact was made with a solicitor representing the occupiers. However, they were informed by the solicitor that the Home Sweet Home coalition could not reach agreement as to who might meet with the receivers.

However, the joint receivers say there was and as this is a very urgent situation they were left with no option other than to come to court.

It is their wish that the occupation could be resolved outside of court, counsel added.

Should the court grant the injunctions sought the joint receivers, Mr Fanning continued, were also prepared to accept a timeline from the court for the occupiers to leave the building.

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