A Young Friend In Need


Last night.

Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin 2.

Glenda Harrington [a volunteer with Friends Helping Friends, a north inner city-based soup run which provides food, clothes, and sleeping bags to the homeless and poor] writes:

Some nights are harder than others…

Mick Caul writes:

I never thought, in my lifetime, children would be queuing on the streets of Dublin to get a cooked meal at night. And I never believed people would just accept it.

Friends Helping Friends

78 thoughts on “A Young Friend In Need

  1. Bill Kavanagh

    Sadly this is what happens when our trendy, liberal, woke left focus ONLY on virtue signaling about Direct Provision, Migrants and BLM on Twitter for retweets and likes. Shame on them all.

  2. Bertie Theodore Alphege Blenkinsop

    I’m not embarrassed to say, that’s brought a tear to my eye.
    That little fella is the spit of my son, same colour school uniform, the lot.

    That’s just so sad in this day and age, heartbreaking.

  3. Joe Small

    Children have always been part of the most disadvantaged in society. I’m surprised that he’s surprised. And of course its dreadful. Who knows what the context is? Maybe he comes from a home where there is drugs, alcoholism, extreme mental health issues or something else. We don’t take children away from their parents anymore for obvious reasons so now children often have to suffer along with their family.

      1. Joe Small

        I think you know I didn’t mean “have to” in that sense. I think children suffer in all economic systems – the UK, Venezuela, Russia, USA. Its hard to devise a policy that will allow the State to protect vulnerable children while respecting families. Having said that, its no excuse for underfunded understaffed resources. I’m just trying to say that, like most social issues, its a complex problem not solved by quick fixes.

      2. Rob_G

        How do you figure that ensuring that their children are fed is the responsibility of the state, rather than the children’s own parents? Genuine question.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Doesn’t the State have a statutory duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection?

          1. Rob_G

            It does indeed, yes, and I hope that a social worker is in touch with the family in question, but short of rounding up every child in the country and feeding them in a mess hall every night, the state can’t guarantee that each child is being fed each night, it is kind of reliant on the parents to carry out this role.

            If someone can’t afford to house themselves, the state will step in and provide; if someone has no job and can’t afford to feed themselves, the state will give them money so that they can. BB’s contention that it is somehow the fault of the state that that child is queueing for a soup kitchen, rather that his parents, is off the wall altogether.

          2. Brother Barnabas

            it’s the fault of FFG that there’s no public housing, no? and the lack of affordable housing is the main factor ina family become homeless, no? so, yeah, a child on the street is the fault of FFG. but you’re right: it is off the fupping wall

            with fault = policy

          3. broadbag

            Rob_G will be probably be battered for that but it’s a fair point, these emotive photos get people’s tear ducts going but there’s no simple solution and the removal of responsibility from the parents doesn’t help, if the child was taken off the parent there’d be uproar, so give them more money? We don’t know their circumstances or that extra money will be spent on feeding the child, context and detail is important here but the photo provides neither and is one step away from propaganda and really they shouldn’t be using kids in this way.

          4. Rob_G

            @Janet – tbh you seem to be one that is advocating for zero accountability for parents in regards to the children they brought into the world.

          5. Janet, dreams of big guns

            not at all, however I’m not in a position however to judge them, I know nothing about their personal history, their own upbringing, mental health, their physical or mental capabilities etc,
            I am allowed judge a system of management of resources that allows this to happen.

          6. Brother Barnabas

            I dont think you need to have mental or physical health issues to be unable to cope financially in Dublin – and, esp, afford housing for a family. I know lots off the top of my head – good decent people, great parents, hardworking- who are struggling. it’s not the fault of these people. and, despite what rob thinks, yes, it is FFG’s fault – it’s what they stand for.

          7. Janet, dreams of big guns

            Also it might not be their fault, many people are living wage check to wage check, what happens if you can’t pay your rent, do you realize HAP do not back pay the time it takes to get approved or a security deposit ? That’s just one of the holes in the safety net.

          8. Janet, dreams of big guns

            I’d say loosing a child to welfare through your own lack of capability for whatever reason to care for that child would be accountability enough for any human

          9. Rob_G

            “however I’m not in a position however to judge them, I know nothing about their personal history, their own upbringing, mental health, their physical or mental capabilities etc,”

            I agree; given that people can have such complex issues, is it even possible to conceive of a social welfare system that could absolutely guarantee that no child would be queneing for a soup kitchen?

            @BB – if a family loses their jobs, and can no longer pay their rent, the worst case scenario that they can expect is to be put up in a hotel. While is far from ideal – definitely over a prolonged period – they will have a roof over their heads, plus they will receive 3 meals a day, so again I can’t see how a child queueing at a soup kitchen is somehow emblematic of government policy, or what further policies a government could put in place to account for every possible human frailty that could result in such a sad scene to taking place.

          10. Brother Barnabas

            yes, it’s possible that child is living with his parents and siblings in a hotel room (designed and intended for 1-2 people for a couple of nights, not a family with kids to live in) and dont have access to a kitchen or cooking facilities, so end up in this queue on the street

            so, again, Rob, who’s fault is that?

            and isnt that directly down to FG policy?

          11. Rob_G

            If you are put up in a hotel, you are also fed by the hotel; if said family was in receipt of three squares a day from the hotel, and could buy any additional food they needed from their social welfare payments, it’s difficult to conceive of a scenario where they would need to queue for food in the street, so no, you haven’t really demonstrated how this is indicative of government policy.

          12. Brother Barnabas

            homeless families living in hotels are not provided with meals – in a very limited number of cases, they have access to kitchen facilities but generally not. and they’re not permitted to cook in their rooms. or have visitors. or hang out in common areas. etc etc

          13. Rob_G

            @BB – anything I have across online suggests that people are fed while in hotels

            @Janet – agreed, but if there are not enough houses for everyone, what to do with people who need a roof over their head right now? Personally, I think that anyone who is homeless and who does not have work commitments in Dublin should be moved to a county nearby where there is not such a shortage of adequate housing, and where schools are facing closure due to a shortage of pupils, but I’m guessing you might take issue with this solution also.

          14. Janet, dreams of big guns

            I don’t actually, a home and access to schooling should be more of a priority than location. It doesn’t have to be forever and it’s a start.

    1. Janet, dreams of big guns

      I was visiting a famine folly the other day and thinking about how that mentality is still very much to the fore, charity for people will make them lazy, you can’t give starving people something for nothing, sure why would anyone work, no make them build an amusement for our visiting friends, just think of Leo’s welfare cheats boll*x.

      1. scottser

        the origins of the poor laws of the 1840s are a fascinating insight into that mentality. the poor houses were set up as a prototype welfare state to provide respite for the most needy, but also to curb the rise of the ‘sturdy beggar’, someone who was caught begging but fit enough to do a day’s work. so charity here always was two-faced from its very conception, especially when ran by the church.
        one added consequence of the poor laws was to remove the onus on the landlord to be benevolent to a miscreant tenant. essentially, the poor laws provided the landlord with a guilt-free dumping ground for their evictees, the numbers of which increased drastically during the famines.
        and here we are 180 years later looking at hungry kid qeueing for food on a street. it’s a disgrace, nothing less.

        1. Rob_G

          What does any of the above have to do with the cradle-to-grave social protection safety net that we all enjoy and benefit from today?

          1. Janet, dreams of big guns

            there are huge holes is your ” safety net” clearly,
            the way society is structured ensures that these people stay very much in their place.

          2. scottser

            the providers and operators of the safety net are free to judge those that are forced to use it for their own political and material gain. the inherent hypocrisy with charity provision is the point.
            in fact rob, see V’s post below.

        2. AKA Frilly Keane

          And in today’s money Scottie – HAP
          Hotel Rooms / Hubs
          But mainly HAP

          Make no mistake lads
          Developers might be out there today saying that they’re going to change their plans, cease work on Hotels and try and build Houses/ Residential Units instead

          That’s lobbying for pressure bro be put on Planning / Change of Use level in the Larger Councils, to get HAP increased and nailed nto Budget ’21

          Instead of diverting €€€€€€€€€s to the Councils to get them back building their own housing stock, and managing their own social housing needs

          By all means get outraged
          And you would have to be a stone not to be moved by this little boy,
          But don’t allow him be exploited by self Interests whose hands ye are playing into by providing them ‘content’ for their pitches to Government
          You are helping create the perfect weather conditions for the REITs, Developers, Lenders/ Financers, the mega NGOs and Quangos and all the other recipients of outrage PR yo-yos

          1. Brother Barnabas

            and councils used to have the skills and resources to undertake large scale public housing initiatives – evidence being all the ex council house estates of the 30s-80s

            who stripped them of that? who’s policy is it that it’s better to incentivise and reward the private sector to do that?

            no matter how you look at it, it all traces back to FFG

          2. Rob_G

            @BB –

            If someone were incapable of feeding their kids while in receipt of a SW payment + having their rent paid by the state while living in private rental accommodation, or while in receipt of a SW payment + living in a hotel, what makes you think they magically being to do so once living in a council house?

          3. Brother Barnabas

            because a lot of those receiving rent supp or HAP struggle to find private rental accommodation within the band, for one

            on the second point, there are plenty of far reaching and human reasons why someone building a life for themselves and their family within a system that empowers them and enables them to live – not just struggle to survive – is better able to do those things than someone trapped in a system that backs them into a corner of poverty and dependency; a hopeless existence with scant prospects of getting out of it

            and that’s what successive FFG administrations have left us with

            the revolution is coming, rob – I like you and dont want to see you put up against a wall and executed, so, please, for both our sakes, repent now

          4. GiggidyGoo

            Councils built quality homes, with council staff, on council land, at reasonable (not inflated) prices. They were able to deliver a lot of homes. Like the water utility, as soon as the FFGers of this world saw an opportunity to line pockets, the needs of the plebs was way down the pecking order. Phil Hogan you may remember cancelled the investigations into planning in some areas – Kilkenny being one.

          5. AKA Frilly Keane

            The Councils do have all the skills to manage Social Housing

            LA Housing Departments are still responsible for the Housing Lists – allocations, special cases and all the regulations Social Housing works under. Including Standards. And also who qualifies for HAP payment.
            They are still responsible for approving purchases made by Voluntaries ( housing associations – real and ‘come latelys’ if you know what I mean, ) and liaison with The Housing Agency
            Simply put if a property is to be purchased from a Bank for Social Housing by an ‘agency’ the local authority Housing dept still has to approve ie say it is suitable for use as a Social Housing Unit. But that’s a whole other story and scandal waiting on a Parliamentary Accounts / Tribunal shindig

            I deal with these people all the time. Even in the other lA Departments like their Finance and Shared Mortgages teams
            I can promise you they are top class, commited, knowledgeable, sincere, hard working, and (in the main) great to work with. Real housing Professionals. And all at a local level where their expertise on local needs is beyond doubt.

            What the Councils don’t have anymore is a building division / maintenance division that is geared up for growing and taking care of their existing stock. Or the budgets to just have at it. Or even Government mandates.

            I would remind everyone reading this that when they were allowed, the Local Authorities built fantastic houses. Houses built to last.

            The Housing Agency / Dept of Environment control the show and make decisions Nationally. Not locally. About stock and cost.

            The drive to privatise social housing is decades old and into its 5th or 6th Government at this stage. Easily

            This didn’t happen overnight. But don’t allow yourself to think Local Authority employees, and a handful of Councillors too tbf, in their respective housing depts aren’t equipped to manage and indeed sort out our housing crisis.

            Sorry if this is ranty. But if you knew what I do you’d do the same.

            If any one of the REITs decides to stop taking HAP, or sell up, and it would only take a Board decision btw, Dublin in particular is screwed. More dangerously tho, is not if but WHEN, one or more of the larger National Housing Agencies goes into receivership/ liquidation.

          6. Brother Barnabas

            hi frillz, yes, absolutely on management etc; I meant building/construction- back in the day, councils + the then Bord of Works actually built stuff – and, as you know better than any, to an excellent standard- not the crap that profit-driven developers throw up these days

          7. Rob_G

            Councils don’t build council houses any more because council house tenancies are for life (in fact, they can pass from parents to children, so even longer than ‘life’) – building council housing means writing a blank check for future maintenance costs, which will get larger and larger with each passing year.

            I don’t see how providing someone with subisdised housing for the rest of their lives, so long as their income doesn’t go above a certain threshold, will enable someone to break out of corner of poverty and dependency – quite the opposite, in fact.

            Without knowing anything else about you, other than the fact that, like me, you are well-educated person from Ireland who is over 30 (I suppose), I can almost guarantee that you are among the richest 1% in the world in terms of income, so when I’m getting lined up against the wall, there will be a spot for you right along with me.

          8. Janet, dreams of big guns

            People often have a option to buy their council home , building a future asset for their children, a first step on a ladder, that one day may help their children access private housing. As they are buying their home they are much more likely to both maintain and improve on said home, adding value to a whole area and start building a community. Many former council homes are now highly sought after by private buyers. They also get to provide a stable home for their children, no moving around or changing schools or the stresses that come from precarity. In return these kids will do better at school coming from stable home environments, it’s pretty obvious how that helps people improve their lot in just a few generations.

          9. AKA Frilly Keane

            As a by the by

            You would be very much mistaken to think that those that need the helping hand that Social Housing and other Social assists – I saw the expression net above, steps in to provide, is about financial and personal motivation fails on the individuals getting the assistance.

            Disability and other Special Needs. Mental Health reasons. Learning Difficulties.
            Are all features in this population

            But in my experience. Poverty is the real criminal and chokehold.
            And we can actually do something about that.

            If we really want to

          10. AKA Frilly Keane

            No Rob
            You would be wrong to assume the tenancies automatically pass on after the original tenant has passed, or moved on

            Firstly, the Housing Departments monitor accommodation needs all the time. Let’s say Joe has a three bedroom terraced semi, but now needs a wheelchair accessible sustainable living unit. His niece and her children don’t immediately get left in situ.
            Secondly, the new tenant has to qualify for Social Housing independently of the previous holders

            And when it comes to antisocial behaviour and deliberate non paying tenants
            Make no mistake, the Councils are 10 times more faster and can be aggressive is getting their properties back than any bank or vulture

            When the nonpaying is a result of other causes, ie illness/ life changing event, they are equipped to deal with that too and wrap themselves around the tenant/ family

          11. Rob_G

            @Frills – no, not automatically, but they often do.

            If someone is given a 3-bed council house when their kids are small, and then the kids grow up and move out and they are living on their own in this big house, the house won’t be allocated to someone with a greater housing need as a matter of course. The council would never oblige this person to move as it would be a political nightmare – so we have this uneven, illogical distribution of a scarce state resource.

            There are TDs earning six figures living in council houses – this is not an effective model to organise housing policy.

          12. Rob_G

            @ Janet – I really find it peculiar that you are advocating for the selling off of council houses; this represented a huge transfer of public assets into the hands of a lucky few private individuals.

          13. Janet, dreams of big guns

            if someone has bought their council house over a 30 year mortgage it’s their asset or their children’s asset to sell

          14. AKA Frilly Keane

            Differential Rent address’ the issue of TDs and other high income earners availing of Social Housing

            This is exactly why Richard Boyd Barrett’s, a handful of other professional politicians, and my own view on Housing absolutely agree is the best way forward
            Especially in urban developments and a way to keep lower income earners, and essential workers, accommodated in Cities.

            Cooperative Housing lads
            Cooperative Childcare Centres too – but shur’ that’s another days work

            Regarding your other whataboutary Rob
            Every attempt is made to ensure this issue is managed; more and more tenants are aware they may have to move on to more suitable accommodation. And that is a fact I myself can put my own Signiture to.

            Revitalise and re-equip the Local Authorities to manage all their Local and Social Housing needs – and you’ll find an very different landscape.

            What you are doing is undermining them and pointing out faults and weaknesses
            Yet continuing to deny them the resources and support they need from their Government

            Here the thing everyone
            What Eamonn Ryan does with his brief will be the makings or the breakings of the Green Party in Ireland for the next generation
            At least

            He’s been given the portfolio and all the Special advisor supports he needs to change our housing story

            So let’s have it
            Walk the talk lads

          15. Rob_G

            “Differential Rent address’ the issue of TDs and other high income earners availing of Social Housing”

            – no it doesn’t; there is maximum amount, so their housing costs are still being subsidised by the taxpayer – this is a travesty

            “Regarding your other whataboutary Rob
            Every attempt is made to ensure this issue is managed; more and more tenants are aware they may have to move on to more suitable accommodation. And that is a fact I myself can put my own Signiture to.

            – that’s a very qualified statement; how many actually do downsize?

            “Revitalise and re-equip the Local Authorities to manage all their Local and Social Housing needs – and you’ll find an very different landscape.”

            – this is such a piece of fluff statement – DCC has voted time and again to reduce it’s own funding, it has no interest in carrying out even the limited functtions it currently has

          16. AKA Frilly Keane

            Ah the oul’ Party Whip comes in handy all the same

            Maybe- ask the Sinn Féin reps, and then wonder why DCC were paying cash out to Security lads in Ballyfermot

            Don’t drag the operational housing dept staff into your arguments Rob if you’re going to point the finger at the Council Chamber voting practices. Go back to the politics and follow the money trail to the special interests

  4. GiggidyGoo

    No doubt we will get a litany of ‘facts and figures’ from FFG to say that this was only ‘one’ incident.

    It’s a disgraceful reflection on the State that this is happening. Rather than setting up outside the Bank Of Ireland, this should be moved to Leinster House gates – maybe get into focus with those RTE reporters who spend their time filming with Leinster House in the background.

    Hitting us soon will be the winter homelessness figures, the winter hospital trollies lists, increased waiting lists.
    So – has CityWest been stood down. Are the private Goodman/O’Brien hospitals still being paid?

    Donnelly needs to make a statement on all of things pronto, and get the finger out.

  5. Joe

    The ongoing homeless crisis resulting in children queuing at a soup run is FFFGGP social cleansing in action Why did I include the Greenwash party? Because they have returned FFFG into power. It amply shows the level of deprivation when children are forced to publicly wait for their dinner in the street. Shame on anyone who voted this rotten government into power. And for anyone who did, if you have any conscience please try volunteering for a week or two and see at one of these soup runs so you can experience the direct result of your vote.

    1. bisted

      …you have to assume that people who voted for FF/FG are ok with this but many people who voted green and most who included them in their preferences are not…they did not believe that a vote for green was a vote for continuity FG/FF…

  6. Joxer

    Morning Ireland did a nice couple of fluff pieces on someone selling a buffalo at a mart today and the culture night we have all been waiting on. lovely.

  7. Junkface

    The poor kid. You have to feel for him, holding his parents hand queueing for food. That’s modern economics for you, crush the middle class into the new working class, crush the working class into the newly poor. This should not be happening in one of the richest countries in the EU

    1. Otis Blue

      And in the week that the Central Bank revealed that Irish households have €120bn in savings on deposit; the highest ever amount with €10bn alone deposited in 2020.

    1. Junkface

      Very interesting article. Its so crazy how the super wealthy have actually increased their fortunes during the pandemic while the middle class and working class have lost jobs or wealth by going through their savings to pay bills. We need an overhaul of the tax system for the top 1% worldwide, its obscene the money someone like Jeff Besos has made this year. If we don’t start taxing the top 1% properly and a few levels below that also, we will kill freedom and opportunity for younger generations. This is unsustainable.

      1. Janet, dreams of big guns

        completely unsustainable especially when mass emigration due to climate change is only going increase putting added pressure on so called “stable” economies

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