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No deal reached over occupiers leaving Apollo House

Talks between Government and activists went on until late last night.

Members of Home Sweet Home ahead of meeting the Government yesterday.
Members of Home Sweet Home ahead of meeting the Government yesterday.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

NO DEAL WAS reached last night between activists and Government around the occupation of a Nama-controlled building in Dublin.

Seven members of the Home Sweet Home campaign met with Housing Minister Simon Coveney and officials from the Housing Department yesterday evening to negotiate the terms around the group quitting Apollo House in Dublin.

These included musician Glen Hansard and director Jim Sheridan.

Activists occupied the building in Dublin’s south inner city in December, and it has since been used to house up to 40 homeless people per night.

The occupiers have been given until 12 noon by the High Court this coming Wednesday to leave the building.

The Home Sweet Home campaign – a broad coalition of housing activists, trade union officials, artists and celebrities – has said previously it wants guarantees from Government that other Nama buildings will be brought into use to help address the homelessness situation in Ireland.

06/01/2017. Housing Agency - Apollo House. Picture Activists speaking to reporters after the talks last night. Source: SAM BOAL

The meeting broke up at about 11pm last night after seven hours of talks.

No deal was reached between the both sides, but both seemed optimistic about a compromise.

Speaking to reporters outside the Housing Agency, Minister Simon Coveney said both sides had had a “good and frank discussion” around homelessness.

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He said his focus was ensuring the homeless people staying at Apollo House would be able to make a smooth transition into other accommodation.

“We’ll continue to talk to and work with those in Apollo House to try and finalise that,” he said.

Trade union official and Home Sweet Home member Brendan Ogle said no agreement had been reached in relation to “how to move the situation on” but that the talks had been positive.

He said areas of agreement had been reached between the two sides and that talks would continue over the coming days.

Read: Apollo House occupiers demand Government puts Nama buildings ‘on the table’ to address homelessness

Read: “This is not living it’s just existing”: Apollo House volunteer on her struggle to find a home

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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