The small town of Ballaghaderreen recently found out that it would be welcoming some 82 refugees in the near future. About half of these are minors and most of those are under 12 including 13 under the age of 4. There were the predictable attempts by neo-nazis to whip up hate online and someone even distributed about 80 British fascist leaflets in the town. But rather than hate taking hold the town held a standing room only welcoming meeting last Thursday. We asked one of the organisers, Jessamine O Connor, to tell us how this happened.
Hundreds of people responded to the High Court demanding the eviction of Apollo House by linking arms to form a protective ring around it. The judge refused the residents an extra week to find accommodation despite the housing minister failing to deliver what had been promised.
It emerged overnight that housing minister Simon Coveney has failed to deliver on the terms he agreed in order to get Home Sweet Home to vacate Apollo House. Protests are taking place outside Apollo house and across the country in response to this betrayal.
Like many other TDs Coveney is a landlord, we know he earns at least 2600 a month from landlordism - it could be a lot more, TDs are only required to declare that there are landlords if they earn more than that figure, they are not required to say how much more. For landlords homelessness plays an essential role in keeping tenants in a state of insecurity and fear, it makes us feel we have no other choice but to pay rent increases.
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.
You can tell a lot about someone from what they worry about. The Housing Minister Simon Coveney isn’t so much worried about people sleeping on the streets at the moment. He is losing sleep about the thought that other people might fill their swimming pools with free water!
The northern Ireland parliament, Stormont, is in one of its usual crises. In this latest instance we’re talking about a massive fuck up by the DUP whereby Arlene Foster introduced a Renewable Heating Initiative scheme in 2012 which would pay businesses £1.60 for every £1 they spent on heating. This lead to companies heating up empty sheds and barns through the scheme which has amounted to almost half a billion pound being squandered by the so-called political elites. This is one of those crises that has gotten out of control and Stormont is struggling to get a grasp back on things so they’ve rolled out a bit of sectarianism in the hope that we get outraged about that and not the £490 million that has gone up in smoke.
Amazingly, after watching almost half a billion quid go up in smoke, and branding calls for her to step down after such a monumental fuck up as misogynistic - insulting women who have felt the very real consequences of her and her's party's misogynistic policies - Arlene Foster has put a meme on her facebook page of a guinea pig wearing pink heart shaped sunglasses with the words "can't see all the haters with my love glasses on".
In case you missed it, the pope is set to visit Ireland in 2018. Archbishop Eamon Martin has said that this visit will be used to campaign against abortion, and that the church will run a much stronger campaign against it than what they did on marriage equality.
When the pope came to power in 2013 he was hailed and celebrated by liberals as some sort of radical who was single handedly going to bring the church into the 21st century. With statements such as the now famous "who am I to judge?" in regards to LGBT+ people you could almost have been fooled that the liberals were right.
When it comes to housing, most of us just want to sort everyone out because everyone needs a home regardless of who they are. However, occasionally an issue is raised about who the homeless are:
'Are all the homeless people Irish? And if so how can the government find houses for the refugees coming into Ireland and not their own people?'
There are lots of people in high places who benefit from us thinking that the reason for homelessness in Ireland is refugees and other migrants. Or that these people are causing 'us' a big problem. It's understandable why some people believe that, after all the media spreads this message constantly, but it's just not accurate.
A bit of great news as the year closes - Apple have been told they owe 13 billion to the Irish state. Great news now in terms of housing, healthcare and eduction where that money is badly needed. But also great news in the long term for workers everywhere as its a blow against corporate tax avoidance.
The wave of repression unleashed by the Turkish state against the left and the Kurdish freedom movement that has seen tens of thousands fired from their jobs and thousands jailed, including many HDP MPs,has also hit the anarchist movement there. We heard last night that Hüseyin Civan has been sentenced to 15 months for editing the anarchist paper Meydan Gazetesi.