Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Apollo House Struggle Continues

The death of a much loved brother, Leo, on Christmas Day meant that I was unable to keep track of events at Apollo House.  Leo had dispensed with the clerical title from his name Fr Leo Morahan about sixty years ago and since then has been known as Leo or Leon.  For eight years we  worked together in the priesthood until I parted company with church and religion. Since then Leo supported my every action, however different, while he himself remained firmly within the fold.

The trauma of his (expected) death and its aftermath have left me out of touch. It was great then to learn of yesterday's march by Apollo House supporters to the Department of Finance in Dublin. They demand action on the housing crisis.  The government, embarrassed by the occupation and the widespread support for it,  had been giving lame excuses in the Dáil before Christmas.. The Department had, it appears, awarded this amount or that amount "to solve the housing crisis". Throwing money at a problem has been common since Mary Harney's time.The idea is to allocate money while continuing with the austerity programme.  It is literally a passing of the buck. "We have put money into the equation; run off now and attack someone else".

Any government worth its salt knows that the housing crisis demands immediate hands-on action.  In the face of enormous odds, Home Sweet Home and the Apollo House occupiers took that action. The march on a bitterly cold January day with over 700 supporters (my own estimate) means that they are alive and well, full of verve and intent.

January 11 is approaching.  The prospect of residents being flung out of their comfortable home is looming. I hope this doesn't happen.

Meanwhile hats off to Home Sweet Home, the Apollo House occupiers and volunteers and to the homeless both inside and ouside that building.

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