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.”
Fact: 147 people slept rough last night.
Fact: Beds were unavailable from 9pm last night.
Fact: The 200 promised beds are still not in the system
Fact: Enough is not being done, their will be more deaths. @ntlhomelessdemopic.twitter.com/au7wnZBD6P
Members of the Polish community in Dublin donated a new tent and provisions for John Byrne who has been homless for 25 years. J
ohn famously saved a rabbit from the River Liffey in 2011.
Sam Boal, of Rollingnews, writes:
As a press photographer I cover a lot of different events; including a lot of heartbreaking stories. This is one such heartbreaking story. John says he has been homeless for the last 25 years.
He’s now living in a tent on the side of the Royal Canal beside Mountjoy Prison, with his mate Daryl and his dogs. I have to admit before doing this assignment I was a bit nervous to approach it.
Everyone has their own idea of what could happen and what people might be like. At first I didn’t recognise John at all, but he recognised me; which took me by surprise. Quickly he let me spend some time with him, whilst members of the Polish community helped to set up a new tent and provisions which they had gathered together to help John move from a one-man to a bigger two-man tent.
John came to public attention in 2011 when he jumped into the River Liffey in Dublin to save his rabbit which had been thrown into the water.
With all the media attention and the fact that he was homeless, most people might have assumed that help for him was not far off.
Unfortunately, seven years on John is still homeless and sheltering in a donated tent.
John and Daryl are accompanied by his four dogs; most of whom have been rescued from the streets. His compassion for his animals is infectious John says that his dogs keep him safe; barking at everything.
They also keep off the massive river rats, which he describes as being two hands big, and that swarm over the canal banks in the early hours of the morning.
Dogs, we say, are ‘man’s best friend.’ For John that seems to be the case. His dogs are better friends to him than any human.
Over the course of our conversation I photographed set up shots, but the one above was natural.
John just picked up his dog and his dog’s gratitude and love shines through. As a press photographer I try to highlight a story in the best way I can. Sometimes this requires a measure of setup due to time constraints and deadlines. I hope that this is not just a nice picture.
I hope it might just help John and those like him to get the proper accommodation they need. I am not naive: it requires more than houses to solve the issue of homelessness.
However people living in our capital city in tents – whose dogs are better friends than any human – is not my idea of a solution either.
Following a long, hot summer which saw many Dublin children and teenagers cool off in Dublin’s Royal Canal, Dublin adult Terry Fagan reflects on his days as a youth spent ‘down the canal’ with his mates.
“That was our adventure park, that was where we enjoyed ourselves, that’s where we grew up and we became men…you got really brave when the girls came around cause you didn’t want to be seen as cowards but you’d wait for some fool to try it first. If he came up out of the water, then you knew it was OK…There’d be many a dream held on that canal bank, you know, cause people would be planning their lives, you know, what they’re going to do and that, ‘we’re gonna travel the world together’, ‘we’re gonna do this’ and ‘we’re gonna do that’, you’re gonna be something…”