The High Court has refused a one week extension to an order to vacate Apollo House. The NAMA owned building in Dublin city has been occupied by homeless people since mid-December.
The remaining occupants will have to leave immediately.Four days before Christmas, the occupants of the derelict Apollo House were given until noon today to leave.
Ross Maguire, who’s acting for some of the Home Sweet Home campaigners, said they fully intended to comply. But this morning, he told Mr. Justice Paul Gilligan that suitable accommodation had not been provided, as promised. He said assurances made by the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney had not been met. He said some occupants had left Apollo House but returned because they found their alternative accommodation to be “entirely unsuitable”.
He came to court looking for a one-week extension to the order to vacate – an application opposed by Rossa Fanning on behalf of the NAMA appointed receivers. He described this as a “very simple law case involving an illegal trespass and a court order which ceased at noon today”.
He said that order should stand and described ongoing negotiations regarding the suitability of alternative accommodation as “neither here nor there” when considering the legal issues. Mr. Justice Gilligan agreed.
He said it had already been established and was absolutely clear that the occupants had no right to be there.
He said he granted the occupants an “unusually long stay” and treated them with respect – something he expected them to have for the courts. He went on to say it wasn’t appropriate for the court to get involved in issues as to whether or not the alternatives on offer were “safe, secure or suitable”.
If the situation is allowed to drag on, he said people would thing the courts were taking a “benevolent attitude” – an intolerable situation for a democratic state. In refusing the application, he finished by saying the dispute as to suitability is a “matter for Government and not for the courts”.
The remaining occupants have now been told to leave Apollo House immediately.The case will return to his court tomorrow morning for an update on whether the order has been complied with.