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Simon Coveney says residents must leave Apollo House but denies plans to 'forcibly push them out'

The minister said misinformation has been swirling on Twitter.


HOUSING MINISTER SIMON Coveney has said that there has been “no attempt” to forcibly remove homeless people from Apollo House.

The High Court today refused to increase a stay on an order that requested activist group Home Sweet Home leave Apollo House by noon today.

Despite the order to vacate the building now being in force, some homeless residents and activists remain.

The minister today responded to a tweet claiming that the Garda Emergency Response Unit was being prepared to clear the building, saying there was “no truth” to it.

In an interview this evening with TheJournal.ie at Facebook’s headquarters in Dublin, Coveney expanded on this saying that other misinformation has been spread online.

“There wasn’t actually speculation, somebody decide to put up on Twitter that I was speaking to the guards and the Minister for Justice, that is not true,” Coveney said.

There’s no attempt here to try and forcibly push people out or anything like that. These are vulnerable people who need help from the State, like every homeless person does.

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Outside of Apollo House today, Rosie Leonard of Home Sweet Home said they would continue to occupy the building and will defy the court order.

11/01/2017. Apollo House. Pictured Supporters from Demonstrators form a human chain around Apollo House. Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The minister acknowledged that the campaign by Home Sweet Home has been successful in bringing attention to the issue of homelessness, but he insisted that the people there now need to move to alternative accommodation.

I think there are six or seven people left in Apollo House, I think there has been 76 people reallocated space in other suitable emergency accommodation with organisations like the Simon Community, St Vincent de Paul and the Peter McVerry Trust.

“I certainly don’t want to see and I think most people don’t either, they don’t want to see homeless people caught up the breach of a court order,” the minister said.

Read: ‘We are going to defy this court order’: Apollo House occupiers say they’re not going anywhere >

Opinion: ‘Apollo House was about much more than 35 people in one building’ >

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Rónán Duffy

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