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Mannix Flynn: 'Apollo House completely failed'

The Dublin City councillor said that the criticism of the council was unfair and the occupation “didn’t achieve anything”.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

DUBLIN CITY COUNCILLOR Mannix Flynn says that the Apollo House occupation had ”completely failed” and he said he thought it didn’t achieve anything.

On last night’s Late Late Show, he was asked about why he was so unhappy about the occupation of the Nama building in Dublin.

“It wasn’t that I was unhappy about it it was that I found it was deeply exploitative.”

He said that it wasn’t true that the incident got people talking about homelessness to a degree it hadn’t before, and said that the issue just featured more in the media.

…But the conversation was going on with us for years, the people who are homeless, the people who come to us in Dublin City Council, the thousands of staff that work with us.

“I don’t think it achieved anything. I think people woke up when they were asked the question ‘where the money is’, and ‘what they’re doing with the money that they got’, and ‘how many people have they actually housed’.”

The Independent councillor criticised the protesters’ decision to organise an illegal occupation, saying there were other alternatives available.

“It’s important to know that, here they were in Apollo House, an illegal occupation, around the corner Peter McVerry had a property which was lying idle which they could have occupied without breaking the law.”

(Apollo House activists could argue that there is a symbolism to a Nama building, which represents the housing crisis and the property problem in Ireland.)

The Apollo House aimed to give the homeless a permanent room and place to stay, as well as raise the issue of homelessness on a mass scale and what exactly people needed to be housed.

The Apollo House activists claimed the beds being provided by governments and local authorities weren’t enough, and the facilities were substandard.

Flynn refuted those allegations last night.

“So they were telling us that Dublin City Council and those who were working with the homeless had failed and that they were putting people into places that were unfit for purpose.”

I’ve been in all those places, I’ve looked at them they’re not unfit for purpose.
There’s blood in an ambulance, there’s blood in a hospital, you’ll get these types of situations.

“Nobody was coming to me asking to go to Apollo House, Apollo House became a spectacle, a lot of people went because it got a huge amount of publicity.

“But when it came down to the wire, Apollo House completely failed.”

At the end of the Apollo House occupation, which ended earlier this year, the activist said that although they were ordered to leave the building, they had achieved their goals to get suitable accommodation for the individuals staying with them during the occupation.

They said that they would discuss their next move and consider similar occupations around the country.

Last year, Flynn held a window ledge protest at Dublin’s City Hall, where he called for the disbanding of the Artane Band.

Read: ‘A publicity stunt full stop’ – there isn’t much love for Mannix Flynn’s windowsill protest among his fellow councillors

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