Ireland is in the depths of a severe homelessness crisis, with 7,000 people without a home. With the government refusing to act, some activists in Dublin did. Apollo House was occupied by Home Sweet Home Eire on the 15th December, to intervene in the housing crisis and to save lives.
There are around 190,000 vacant buildings in Ireland, that’s 27 houses for every homeless person.
The wealth divide is growing in Ireland and the lives of the homeless mean nothing to a government that values profit over people. For instance, Dublin is in the world’s top 15 for concentration of millionaires, something only intensified as the wealth trickled up after the financial crash. If it is shocking that the rich have become richer as the rest of us have gotten poorer, this is because of the class divide built into our society. When the capitalist class gains, the working class loses.
Around 40 people a night have found a home in Apollo House, in the coldest time of the year. People in desperation are coming to it for shelter, rather than to the state which is officially, legally, tasked with ensuring their welfare. There’s no doubt that Apollo House shows us the effectiveness of direct action. Where the government fails the people can provide.
And futher still, the Apollo House occupation demonstrates through action a different ethic, of ownership through use, and exposes the terrible contradiction of the private property system where there can be people without homes yet homes without people. We get so wrapped up in the way things are, how things are supposed to be done, what’s legal and illegal rather than right and wrong. By reclaiming this building and collectively running it according to the needs of the people, Home Sweet Home are injecting a vital dose of compassion and humanity back into our society.
A court injunction has decreed that the residents of Apollo House must turf themselves back onto the frigid street by January 11th or else. Are we willing to tolerate this? Should this be the end of Apollo House and everything it stands for? A question we should all be asking is what will we do to further this rebellion against cruelty. Apollo House can’t be a stand alone act of care and defiance. We should take inspiration from it and spread outwards – the aim being similar occupations all over the island of Ireland supported by a democratic self-organised movement of people. A movement which the Irish Housing Network is building in this moment.
True revolutionaries serve the people, and that’s exactly what Home Sweet Home are doing.
Full support and solidarity from the Workers Solidarity Movement. Better to squat than let homes rot!
Workers Solidarity Movement http://www.wsm.ie/c/video-solidarity-apollo-house-occupation