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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 23 May, 2019
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Homeless couple get engaged in Apollo House following performance by Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard was on hand to serenade residents and staff at the Dublin centre.

Image: Facebook/HomeSweetHome

Updated: 19:00

A HOMELESS RESIDENT at Apollo House got engaged to her long-term partner yesterday as she told how the occupation of the Nama building has protected her.

Cheryl, who has been without a home for five years, was shocked when her partner got down on one knee after they had Christmas dinner in the south inner city building.
Not only has she gotten engaged, but Cheryl believes Apollo House has given her security.

She said: “Last year we were sleeping on mats in Merchant’s Quay. We would have to walk around all day. Apollo House is 24 hours, you can relax.”

Cheryl said although she is eligible for Housing Assistance Payment (a type of rent allowance), renting privately is too difficult.

Engagement

She added: “Landlords take advantage of us because they think we’re really young. Rents go up and you get turfed out. When you ring for a viewing you know you are in competition with so many people. The longest we’ve had in a place was 6 months.”

The couple believes Apollo House has changed things for them in many ways.

“We got engaged yesterday after Christmas dinner. We came downstairs and had dinner and afterwards he asked me in front of everyone. And I said yes.”

The traditional Christmas Eve busking session may have been stopped early for fears of overcrowding but Glen Hansard decided to bring the session to Apollo House.
The Frames frontman traditionally plays beside Bono and a host of other famous faces on Grafton Street on the day before Christmas. However, there were fears that people could be injured such was the crush on the shopping street on Saturday evening.

Not to be deterred, Hansard, who has been one of the leading spokesmen for the Home Sweet Home takeover of the NAMA owned Apollo House, decided to whip out his guitar in the occupied building and sing for residents and staff at the centre.

apoloo 2 Glen Hansard performing in Apollo House on Christmas Day. Source: Facebook/HomeSweeetHome

You can watch the video here.

There has been an upsurge in support for the group since they took over the abandoned building in Dublin’s south inner city.

On Christmas Eve, gardaí were forced to shut down the annual busking session on Grafton Street after just three songs due to the volume of people who turned up.

Hansard, who led this evening’s session, announced that all proceeds raised would go to the Peter McVerry Trust and the Dublin Simon Community.

Hansard was joined by other performers like Gavin James, Damien Rice, The Coronas.

However the crowd became so large that gardaí had to ask performers to finish up early. Addressing the crowd, Hansard said:

I hope that you can understand that we are in a delicate position with the law – a lot of us up here – and we need to do the right thing. We’re either going to have to move this or we’ll end it and we’ll call it in good grace. Thanks a lot for coming, and thanks a lot for giving your support.

Residents at Apollo House have been given until 11 January to vacate the premises following a High Court order.

Read: ‘A woman needed £15k for IVF. George Michael secretly phoned and gave her the money’ >

Read: Busy Coombe Hospital welcomes seven babies to the world on Christmas Day >

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