By Jason Michael

Each and every unoccupied building in the control of NAMA that might otherwise be a home for homeless people and families is a tangible act of treason against the Proclamation of the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland.

Only a few minutes’ walk from the quays, tucked in behind Tara Street DART station, a small revolution is taking place. Home Sweet Home was the brainchild of Ballymun man Quintin Sheridan. Originally it was a social media campaign by Sheridan, who has himself been homeless, to raise awareness of the appalling state of homelessness in Ireland. Since October it has grown to become a movement that has now seized an unoccupied building – Apollo House – for the homeless; to get them off the streets for Christmas and with a plan for it to become a home for rough sleepers in the long term. By occupying this building – a property effectively held in trust by NAMA for the bankrupted owners – those responsible are breaking the law.

I support the occupation and I support the violation of any law that necessitates the suffering and death of human beings in order to keep the rich secure in their wealth. We can go further and state that the existence of the Irish Republic makes any such law illegal on the island of Ireland, because it violates the very essence of our Republic:

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.
Easter Proclamation, 1916

It is ironic – supremely so – that on this centenary year we find ourselves reminding a stone deaf Irish government of the words of the Proclamation, with its declaration of the ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. Yet this should come as no surprise. Earlier this year, on the day the nation marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Rising there was a soup kitchen for the homeless at the GPO in Dublin – at the exact spot Pádraig Pearse first read the Proclamation.

A century on and we find ourselves in a position where the ownership of Ireland is still not within the grasp of the people of Ireland. Every day more people, more families, are dispossessed of their homes in the name of government imposed austerity and put out on the street. With hotel rooms, Bed and Breakfasts, and other emergency accommodation full, more of the people of Ireland are sleeping on the streets than at any time in the country’s history – more than were rough sleeping during the Famine, and more even than at any point during the British occupation.

The reason for this is that we in Ireland remain an occupied people. We have been bought and sold by a privileged Irish ruling class to financiers and corporations. Sovereignty of Ireland remains a distant hope for the people of Ireland in an occupation of austerity that has witnessed more deaths by suicide than by bullets in 1916 and by all the bullets and bombs of the Troubles in the north.

On the grounds of the Proclamation we must all support the present occupation of Apollo House. We are obliged to support the occupation and to take it further and take back control of every asset of Ireland that has been taken from the people of Ireland – buildings and oil and gas resources. These things are the birth right of every Irish woman and man, and what use is an Irish birth right when its ownership leads to the ending of Irish lives? Apollo House is a small revolution. Our hope is that it is the opening salvo in a national revolution.

Apollo House Occupied for Rough Sleepers

Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

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