Tag Archives: Homeless

It has been said before that there is a kind of denial of class division in Ireland. But everyone knows that there is a class system, a lower and upper and so on, though the insistence appears to be that there are mainly “normal people like us”, who are annoyed for the most part by “skangers”, “scumbags”, “posh fuckers” and the “super rich”.

The socially unfortunate are explained away by seizing on a kind of Catholic throwback understanding, part karma and part divine retribution, which amounts to the judgment that they “brought it on themselves” by, usually, “not working hard enough”.

The new homeless fall into this category, a kind of secular damned, suffering the torments brought about by original economic sin of borrowing too much, and, presumably, “not working hard enough.”

The various prejudices that hold the whole thing together are supplemented by selective readings of the news. Stats are particularly good for propping up the illusion that everything is hunky dory. Just don’t contrast stories from different ends of the spectrum or they’re likely to ignite and blow up in your face.

Take today for instance, December 15th 2017.

The Irish Times had a story reporting over 10% growth in GDP, with the strong pick-up due to “personal consumption”. If you want to support the system, Leo’s Ireland, and pat yourself on the back for being of optimistic outlook, you’ll seize on that reported 10.5% growth figure and think no more about it.

But if you read down through the article you’ll find that the figure isn’t as solid as it might first appear to be, due to difficulties in acquiring accurate measurements of GDP. By the end of the article the true figure for GDP growth is somewhere between 6.5% and 10%, maybe.

Goodbody analyst Dermot O’Leary is quoted as saying:

“the headline GDP growth estimate of 10.5 per cent year on year is not a realistic gauge of the pace of growth in Ireland in Q3 2017…”

That the article leads with the headline “Irish economy surges to double-digit growth,” is a fair indication that the Irish Times believes that this is what we should believe. But the headline is an inaccurate exaggeration of the true story, almost tabloidy, so, proving that in mean times even the formerly urbane may become a little calloused.

Meanwhile, over in RTÉ, Fr Peter McVerry was also quoting figures to Cathal MacCoille on Morning Ireland, the dialogue reported in Broadsheet. Fr McVerry was calling for a rent freeze, describing the current housing crisis as “beyond crisis”. He warned that within months all available hotel accommodation would be used up.

He said:

“In January this year, there were 410 families in emergency accommodation. In July, there were 659 families in emergency accommodation. The numbers are just going up and up and up. And I would describe the situation,

it’s like a boat that’s drifting, it’s drifting towards the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be any engine that’s trying to drift it away from the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be anybody in charge. The problem is just getting worse and I see no measures being taken to try and address that problem in the short term.”

Fr McVerry added:

“The primary cause now of homelessness, of 90% of the new people becoming homeless is the private, rental sector. Their rents have gone through the roof. People can no longer afford them…”

Wait! Didn’t the other article in the Irish Times say that the GDP was up due mainly to personal consumption? From the times article:

“The latest quarterly national accounts show gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated by 4.2 per cent in the third quarter alone amid a pick-up in personal consumption…”

Hmm… Could these stories be connected?

Fr McVerry said that he and others have been calling for rent freezes for over a year now, but these calls have been ignored, and while rents have increased dramatically, rent supplement from the department of social protection has decreased.

He said:

“The rents, nationwide, in the last three and a half years have gone up by an average of €50 per week. In Dublin they’ve gone up by over €90 per week on average and the rent supplement has been reduced by 28% – there is just no correlation now between the rent supplement and the rents that are being demanded by the landlord.”

Fr McVerry added that Alan Kelly, Minster for Environment, Community and Local Government had promised a rent freeze last February:

“…he said he was going to do it – he actually said he was going to introduce emergency rent freeze. We’ve heard nothing since.”

If there were some correlation between increasing rents and “surging GDP” due to “personal consumption”, a rent freeze might mess up the surging GDP, effectively freezing the recovery.

This leaves the government really with a choice on what to freeze, like so many economic housewives. Given that many of them are landlords we shouldn’t be too surprised that they often choose, by neglect, to freeze the homeless. Sure, they probably deserve it anyway. If they’d worked harder when they had the chance they wouldn’t be homeless.
They’ve only themselves to blame.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, someone shared a Christmas card from President Michael D. Higgins. The president’s Christmas Message was:

“To give protection, food and water to those who are fleeing war, oppression or starvation is a matter of fundamental, universal human solidarity. The refusal to do so goes beyond that remarkable phrase coined by Pope Francis – ‘the globalisation of indifference’, as indifference is slowly turning into mistrust and hostility.”

If the sentiment of that rubs you up the wrong way, there was consolation to be found further down the news feed, where someone shared a clip from the Dáil debate on homelessness, with Richard Boyd Barrett quoting the Taoiseach as saying “There is no such thing as a free home.” Which stands as a nice contrasting Christmas message to Michael D’s perhaps dated sentiments.

As you can see, with careful selectivity, the news always has something for everyone.
I was a bit inspired myself by the Taoiseach’s quote, and I made up a Christmas card meme (top) in keeping with the sentiments and priorities of Leo’s New Ireland.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Rollingnews

Anthony Flynn of Inner City Helping Homeless tweetz:

Our teams are doing unbelievable work, making sure that all who we engage with – anyone who is experiencing #homelessness or vulnerability at any level – is supported. If you can get involved then get in touch.

Inner City Helping Homeless (Dublin)

This lunchtime.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Artist Will St Leger (above with loud speaker) choreographs a living art piece outside Dáil Eireann to highlight the homeless crisis using volunteers with sleeping bags.

More as Will arranges it.

All pics by Mick Caul

Yesterday: Bring Your Own Bag

Update:

Further baggage.

Rollingnews

Saturday morning.

Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Tents along the bank of the Royal Canal. The Inner City Helping Homeless group has accused Waterways Ireland of trying to clear rough sleepers from the banks and bridges of the Royal Canal It said the agency issued eviction notices to people sleeping in tents beside the canal.

Earlier: Bring Your Own Bag

Homeless people’s tents along the Royal Canal and an eviction notice served on a homeless person in August

Stephen McDermott, of Dublin Live, reports:

Residents in Drumcondra have called for the removal of a number of tents along the Royal Canal, claiming the rough sleepers who are living in them are intimidating locals.

“And Dublin Live can exclusively reveal that Waterways Ireland has already asked those living in the tents to leave the area, as gardai continue to work on a plan to deal with the issue.”

And in relation to a residents meeting on November 7 about the matter…

Fine Gael councillor for Dublin City Ray McAdam, who also attended the meeting, said that locals felt the site was becoming a “semi-permanent encampment”.

Mr McAdam added: “There would be a level of concern that the residents feel intimidation. Of course, everybody’s level of intimidation is different, but there’s an anxiousness about the potential for further anti-social behaviour.

“I’ve also heard that people who live there have seen an increase in behaviour, where ‘undesireables’ – to use the word of locals – are publicly drunk and inebriated, and the consequence of that is that it’s attracting similar activities into the area.

“My view is that there is a public order issue here and that the Gardai need to act.”

Gardai to implement policing plan as Royal Canal locals seek removal of homeless tents (Stephen McDermott, Dublin Live)

Related: For homeless in tents, living with the threat of eviction (Dublin Inquirer)

Meanwhile…

Pics: Asgard 1916 Society, Dublin (Facebook)

A man who had been known to homeless services was discovered unresponsive in the area around the Four Courts on Monday evening

“The latest two deaths in Dublin bring to 7 the number of people sleeping rough that have died in the past 12 weeks, said the Peter McVerry Trust,

“We calling on the Government to commit to housing every person currently sleeping rough in Dublin by the end of next year.”

The charity said there are currently just over 180 people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin and called on the Government to “commit to ring-fencing 180 social housing units for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Charity “deeply saddened” following second homeless death in Dublin (Newstalk)

Last night: Another Death

Rollingnews

The tent at Sandford Close, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 this evening.

A man, in his 50s, was found unresponsive in the tent he was sleeping in earlier this afternoon.

The grim discovery was made at approximately 12:30 on Sandford Close, Ranelagh in south Dublin. The man had been sleeping in the area for quite some time.

It is understood that groundkeepers from the nearby Gonzaga College discovered the man unresponsive and raised the alarm.

Grim discovery Homeless man found unresponsive in tent yards from college in leafy Dublin suburb dies (Craig Farrell, The Irish Sun)

Pic Paul Sharp via Irish Sun

This afternoon.

Aviva Landowne Road Nua Conference Centre, Ballsbridge. Dublin 4

Supporters for the Campaign for Public Housing stage a public protest outside the 2017 Sunday Business Post Residential Property Summit to highlight the “damage being done to Irish society by those organising, addressing and attending the Summit”.

Fight!

Sam Boal/RollingNews

Meanwhile…

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Slawek Wolowski with Aimee O’Riordan who are residents from Leeside Apartments in Cork and face eviction joined supporters against the planned mass eviction by a vulture fund and in support of Solidarity’s anti homeless devices bill.

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Rosemary Fearsaor Hughes (left with guide dog Quilla) and Eileen Gleeson

An open letter to Eileen Gleeson, Dublin Regional Housing Executive, Dublin City Council

As a sight-impaired rough sleeper, I wish to point out some of your misconceptions. Your statement on the causes of homelessness is discriminatory at least and ill advised at best.

I am writing this as a homeless person angered at your flagrant disregard towards other human beings, since you seem to forget that we are human, to rebuke you for the sweeping statement you have made about individuals who find themselves without accommodation.

How many homeless people do you know on a personal level?

We are not all in this situation through “bad behaviour” or through substance abuse. I was without a home and family overnight: not all “homeless people” are bums who want to live off welfare. Many find themselves homeless as a result of landlord greed, or through escaping abusive relationships.

Legislation governing the selling of handicrafts and other honest means of making a living make it impossible for individuals to save money to access private rented accommodation.

I am a Big Issue vendor, on many occasion I have experienced persecution for selling handicrafts that I have made, postcards and other small souvenirs on the streets, I want to earn a living and I will never beg. I am not in receipt of Social Welfare.

I, like many other rough sleepers, do not abuse any substances, including tobacco or alcohol, which is one of several reasons why I wish to have nothing to do with your inadequate and inaccessible hostels, accessed through a degrading freephone number.

Most of the “emergency accommodation ” facilities are unsuitable for an individual with mobility issues or sight impairment. If an accessible bed was available I would gladly accept it, that said there are not enough beds available anyway. The facilities are undignified and individual privacy is minimal.

I am computer literate and want to give something back. I not only read Braille, but I can teach it. I know many other homeless people who want opportunities to contribute to the society which has literally left us in the gutter.

However, once you have the stigma of having been homeless your prospects diminish greatly and your opportunities for obtaining meaningful long-term employment vanish. You are perpetuating that stigma by implying that all who have been or are homeless are in that position through their own wrong doing!

I am going to cast some aspersions of my own. I can be reasonably certain that you have never been without food and not known how you were going to find your next meal, nor that you have ever needed to find cardboard to bed down in a doorway.

You have had an easy life where wants and needs are easily confused. You are out of touch with the reality of what it is to survive with little or nothing and I cannot see how you can be of any benefit to the DHRE, because you have little idea about homelessness.

What is certain is that, on your watch, precisely nothing has been done to solve the long-term problem of homelessness in Dublin. I commend those charities who are doing what they can, which is more than I can say for the DHRE.

So I ask you Eileen Gleeson, how can someone so ill-informed about homelessness and clearly and demonstrably incompetent stay in a job for she is unsuitable with the DHRE?

Rosemary Fearsaor Hughes

A rough sleeper on Grafton Street

Previously: “Years Of Bad Behaviour”

Thanks Realpolithick