Belfast Telegraph

Homelessness activists inspired by Apollo House occupy vacant Nama office in Sligo

An empty office space in Sligo, believed to be owned by NAMA, has been occupied by homeless activists.

The building's location is not being disclosed for the time being.

According to activist Gary Smylie, who initiated the occupancy, 13 people have spent the night there on Wednesday and Thursday.

 “For whatever reason, they end up on the street, in a doorway, in an alley way or even sometimes sleeping in those large bins and wheels,” Mr Smylie told OceanFM.

“If there’s a property being unused, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be used to keep people off the streets, and it’s safer.”

“I am keeping the location a secret for as long as possible and just hoping they’ll be out of the winter for as long as possible.”

The offices have no water or electricity but locals in Sligo have donated blankets and mattresses to the group.

Food is also being provided to those present.

“Look at what you started? A peaceful revolution. Now we feel we can do this every where,” Gary Smylie posted on the “Keep Apollo open” Facebook page.

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On Wednesday, the High Court ordered those occupying Apollo House in Dublin City Centre to leave the premises by noon on January 11.

The ten-storey office building on Tara Street has been empty since the middle of last year.

But last week a group of housing activists entered the premises and have been providing accommodation to those who need shelter.

The receivers of Apollo House, Mazars, visited the building yesterday for the first time.

The Peter McVerry Trust also visited the residents on behalf of Dublin City Council to give them a one-to-one assessment.

Brendan Ogle, co-founder of the Home Sweet Home group, which campaigns to tackle homelessness, said "there were great developments" after the visit of Mazars.

Home Sweet Home had been occupying the building, and wants vacant properties to be used as emergency accommodation for the homeless.

"The receivers and their whole team looked at the building in terms of insurance, in terms of fire and in terms of their expectations in relation to their property rights," Mr Ogle said.

"I don't want to put words into their mouths, but we are very happy with how that meeting went. We think they are pleasantly surprised from what they've seen."

Irish Independent


From Belfast Telegraph