Home­less men stage a five-day sit-in at of­fices of Bray district

Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

A FIVE-DAY sit-in at the of­fices of Bray Mu­nic­i­pal District came to an end on Mon­day af­ter­noon with short-term tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion provided for the pro­test­ers.

Home­less men Jay Bis­sett and Tommy Don­nelly oc­cu­pied the of­fices from Thurs­day af­ter­noon in a des­per­ate bid to be provided with hous­ing. The two men were for­mer res­i­dents of the Brighton Ter­race shel­ter on Par­nell Road which was shut down in March due to health and safety and other con­cerns.

One of the men went on to a shared ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity how­ever was evicted due to a dispute over hav­ing a guest there.

An­other did not en­gage with coun­cil of­fi­cials prior to the clo­sure of Brighton Ter­race.

The men re­fused to leave the build­ing un­til they were given an­swers by the au­thor­ity. Wick­low County Coun­cil said that con­trary to some re­ports, the two in­di­vid­u­als were not locked into the coun­cil of­fices and were free to leave at any stages.

Drink­ing water and toi­let fa­cil­i­ties were avail­able to them. An of­fer of emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion for Sun­day, May 8, was made to them and meet­ing with the home­less ser­vices ar­ranged for Mon­day, how­ever those were ini­tially re­fused.

‘A plan is in place which will en­sure the guys have im­me­di­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion,’ said Deputy John Brady, who es­corted the men to County Build­ings in Wick­low on Mon­day.

Mr Bis­sett and Mr Don­nelly at­tended meet­ings with coun­cil of­fi­cials on Mon­day af­ter­noon with the view to putting long term plans in place. ‘ The two guys are very happy with the out­come as they won’t be back on the streets,’ said Deputy Brady, adding that hous­ing staff in Wick­low are work­ing un­der dif­fi­cult con­di­tions due to the cri­sis in hous-ing. he men told sup­port­ers and press gath­ered out­side the of­fices of Bray Mu­nic­i­pal District that the sit­u­a­tion had been ‘re­solved’. Cllr John Ryan said that hous­ing is the num­ber one is­sue for Wick­low County Coun­cil. ‘As a coun­cil we are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can, in­clud­ing build­ing houses, work­ing with hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions, buy­ing prop­er­ties. We have a huge hous­ing list.’

He said that Brighton Ter­race had to be closed as the res­i­dents in the area were find­ing it im­pos­si­ble. ‘ The ex­perts in the area said to us that way of deal­ing with ac­com­mo­da­tion doesn’t work,’ he said. The coun­cil is moving to­wards a model of smaller, prop­erly run units.

‘Vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one liv­ing at Brighton Ter­race en­gaged with the coun­cil and was housed. If peo­ple en­gage we can re­solve the is­sues and have been do­ing so all over the county. The coun­cil will find ac­com­mo­da­tion and there is no need to be sleep­ing rough on the street. The hous­ing staff have been un­der such pres­sure and have shown em­pa­thy to ev­ery­one they have dealt with.

‘Speak­ing broadly, they (peo­ple in shel­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion) have to keep the rules. They are in res­i­den­tial ar­eas. We have to en­sure that the peo­ple liv­ing there are sup­port­ive.

‘If they won’t keep to the rules, ef­fec­tively they are mak­ing them­selves home­less.’

ABOVE: Jay Bis­sett and Tommy Don­nelly are in­ter­viewed by RTÉ. RIGHT: Signs on the door dur­ing the protest.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.