Right2Water, Apollo House, Fake News & the coming socialist utopia
In the last few months no fewer than two multiple property owners have deigned to lecture me on the evils of homelessness in Irish society. As a person of no property, I was bemused by their hypocrisy, and explained, yes, of course, when property is the main measure of western society's personal wealth, and that wealth is deeply unevenly spread, of course, we shall have those who fall through the large gaps in the net, and find themselves without a roof over our head.
How anybody in their right mind thought Apollo House, an ugly office, long since disused , was ideal for housing many of the victims of the housing mess in Ireland, was beyond me. Also, how did they get in? How was electricity connected for squatters using a building they don't own? I spent a bit of time working on a business expansion project a few years ago and our biggest problem was gaining physical access to buildings, even after leases were signed. Somebody on the "inside" facilitated this for Apollo House - either somebody connected to the receiver, or somebody with connections to whatever security contractor was supposed to be looking after the relic.
Similarly, how is it possible to ring up an electricity company and reconnect the electricity on a commercial building you don't own? So why did ESB reconnect the supply for a derelict site it won't get paid for supplying? Supplies have come in the form of donations, including, donations made by commercial operators with a grudge against NAMA, the State or somebody connected to the Apollo House receivership. There is nobody there without some axe to grind.
The mainstream media has largely colluded with their distortion of the facts - if ever there was "fake news" - this is it, ignoring the obvious problem that "HomeSweetHome" has neither the resources nor the expertise to provide an ongoing service for housing a very vulnerable group of people.
However, I think there is another issue here, and that is what this protest is really about: Right2Water's ability to appropriate a privately owned building, get access and services supplied to it, and to manipulate the media into congratulating it for doing so. Indeed it does so on the back of decades of struggle to deal with housing problems. This essentially shows that the state has not got the ability to protect private property against illegal appropriation. What if an elected socialist coalition simply decides in the future to seize property for its own use? The media will be silent. What this protest about was testing the waters of the Irish media to ascertain its resistance to fake news. Once upon a time there was just one website which ploughed a lonely furrow in publishing furiously hard left positions. Not anymore. Mainstream media like RTE and the Irish Times now proudly backslap those who meddle in the lives of really vulnerable folk with barely a whimper about its long term consequences.