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.
Children’s 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 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.
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.
The takeover of Apollo House in the capital, to provide shelter to the homeless, was organised by the Irish Housing Network and various trade unionists, under the name Home Sweet Home.
Housing 30 people, it is now at maximum capacity. Volunteers said they will put out an appeal for specific goods but for now are no longer accepting donations.
Yesterday afternoon, an emergency motion was passed at the North Central Area committee meeting of Dublin City Council.
Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor, Michael O’Brien, proposed a motion that those sleeping there will be recognised by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive when it comes to the housing list.
The motion passed without debate and was sent to the head of the executive.
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