Tag Archives: Homeless

The GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 this morning

Anon writes:

If you work in Dublin city centre, and perhaps not even if you do, you walk past them many times a day.

They lie or sit on the street, in a way that travellers to Egypt, or Lisbon, or Turkey, may be familiar with. But it is not Egypt, or Lisbon, or Turkey, and the weather is wet, and cold, and the Dublin wind is vicious.

Their faces are red and mottled and their heads down, conserving their energy for the bigger fight of the night.

They lie sideways to shield themselves from the wind, in front of windows full of mannequins decked out in sequins and rhinestones, against the doors of the city’s institutes of higher education, or on the steps of museums and the GPO.

Some have lost work, others families, by death or divorce. In childhood, or after it, many, if not all have suffered pain during their lives, pain maybe even greater than that which they are suffering now.

Their existence challenges the comfortable universe which we are still entreated to believe exists in this country but which, inside, we know does not, and maybe never did.

To hide our pain and fear, we pretend that they do not exist, and, where this pretense is unavoidable, salve our wounds by blaming them for their misfortune.

When asking ourselves – what has brought them to this pass, we focus on the self-medication they have used to kill the pain, rather than the pain itself, and its causes deep in our society; we focus on their ill-judged disarrangement of their lives, rather than on the people responsible for this disarrangement; not them, but the people who are running this country have created a situation where citizens are being forced out of their homes by men with dogs employed by foreign firms, like something out of the Land League, the Black and Tans.

We pay heavy taxes to what we believe is an independent State to have this State run properly, to have homes for our people, hospitals for our sick, schools or our children, not just so that we and our families can have a safety net if things go wrong, but also so that we can live in a society in which people feel, safe, respected, cared for and able to get on with the wonderful business of living.

We live in a city where, despite all possible reasons to the contrary there are still people uncared for and neglected in this way, even if we ourselves never need this safety net, we are damaged and diminished in an irretrievable way by their pain, and our ignoring of it. Our perception is subtly shifted, places we loved seem tawdry, people we admired look hollow, our joy in life is taken away.

It doesn’t seem like Christmas this year.

And rather than asking: why is it this way, why do I seem so distressed when I have a job, a warm home, when I’m the lucky one, remember that no person is an island, that to ignore the suffering of others is ultimately to take away one’s joy in life, that to deny pain and fail to act out of fear, or to cling to a non-existent dream that all is alright (as RTE do) is to be a serf, and worse still to know it.

We live in a democracy. We are told we have the power. We need to start believing it, and, further, that a democracy is about, not just caring for others, but also for oneself. Because each other person’s pain affects us more than we know.


Last night.

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.

Earlier: F Sharp

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive last night announced that the number of people spotted sleeping rough in Dublin on the night of November 27, 2018 was 156.

That’s 46 more than the last count in March.

Two counts are carried out in spring and winter of every year by volunteers.

The breakdown shows, on night of November 27, 121 people found Dublin City Council area; five in Fingal area; seven in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown; 12 in South Dublin and 11 in Dublin parks.

Read the Dublin Region Homeless Executive report here

This afternoon.

Dublin City Centre.

Scenes from the Housing demo organised by the multi-group National Homeless and Housing Coalition to highlight the housing crisis.

In fairness.


Earlier this week: Rory Hearne: Why Your Country Needs You To Join The Housing Protest


‘Take Back The City’ protestors occupy the offices of Airbnb on Hanover Quay, Dublin last October

Via John Harris in The Guardian:

I stay in a flat just to the north of Dublin’s city centre, booked via Airbnb…

As if to prove that I am not the only person there paying for a short let, there is a gaggle of young men in the flat above me, who – despite the fact that it is Monday – repeatedly sing a dire and apparently drunken version of Robbie Williams’s Angels between midnight and 1am.

But the buggies and tricycles on each landing suggest that most of my temporary neighbours are families.

I pay £95 for a single night’s stay (including a £43 “cleaning fee”), which highlights why whoever owns it has decided to rent it out in this way.

The same move has been made by scores of other landlords: in August 2018, there were reckoned to be 3,165 entire properties listed on Airbnb in Dublin, compared with only 1,329 available for long-term rent.

This is one vivid element of a housing crisis that combines the most contorted aspects of the private market with a rising need that continues to go unanswered.

About 10,000 people in Ireland are reckoned to be homeless. The number of families who have nowhere to live has increased by more than 20% since 2017.

These are national problems, but they are inevitably concentrated in Ireland’s capital, home to more than 10% of the country’s population.

In the four months between June and September, 415 Dublin families – including 893 children – became newly homeless, adding to a total across the city of about 1,400. Increasing numbers are being forced to live in hotels.

Meanwhile, residential neighbourhoods echo to the clack-clack-clack of suitcase wheels. The city is smattered with key boxes for Airbnb apartments.

A stock line among activists demanding action from the government gets to the heart of all this: in 21st-century Dublin, they say, homeless families stay in hotels, and tourists stay in houses.

Last week, a survey titled the Expat City Ranking found that among people who live and work abroad, Dublin came out as the world’s worst capital for affordable accommodation.

Since the summer, there have been repeated protests in the city, focused most spectacularly on occupations of vacant buildings.

Tomorrow [Saturday] a protest organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition is expected to attract thousands of people to the middle of Dublin, set on making the case for housing as a basic human right and venting their anger and fear about a simple enough fact: that Ireland’s capital is fast becoming an impossible place to live and thousands of lives are being ruined as a result.

30,000 empty homes and nowhere to live: inside Dublin’s housing crisis (John Harris, Guardian)

Yesterday: Rory Hearne: Why Your Country Needs You To Join The Housing Protest

A mural on Frederick Lane, Dublin 1

Terry McMahon writes:

I was asked to write a piece for the Sunday Business Post’s powerful three-page-special (behind paywall) on homelessness yesterday. 500 words. In fairness to the editor, it was probably the lawyers who advised the cuts, so respect to The Sunday Business Post for running what they did. This is the piece as it was intended, unedited and unapologetic

“I’m not crazy – I will end homeless families living in hostels

Then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney (Irish Independent, January 4 2017)

Imagine the excitement of thousands of forgotten Irish children, holed-up in emergency accommodation, as minister Simon Coveney swears he will get them out by summer 2017.

Imagine those children, two years later, realising the only thing Coveney’s promise secured was his own political advancement. He was made Tánaiste. The second most powerful man in Government.

Imagine those children today, knowing that their dreams and aspirations were nothing more than cannon fodder for the normalisation of obscenity.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Psycopath as: a person who has no feeling for other people. Does not think about the future. Does not feel bad about anything they have done in the past. Very mentally ill. Unstable. And dangerous.

Coveney taught these children that lying leads to success. Lack of empathy benefits progress. Betrayal is good for business. Only certain lives matter. Dreaming is for the few. A childhood is for the chosen. The consequence of naivety is eviction. The price of vulnerability is horror. Santa is too busy hanging with the socioeconomically selected kids to visit your sorry working-class ass.

These children were taught the literal Cambridge Dictionary definition of what it means to encounter a psychopath. They have learned that political leaders don’t give a damn if increasing numbers of children’s lives, along with the lives of their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, end in a damp doorway.

Is it abnormal for our children to yearn to connect? It is abnormal for our children to yearn to love, and to be loved in return? Is it abnormal for our children to yearn for a home, with their own bed, where they can sleep, without fear, every night?  Is it abnormal for our children to want us to fight for them? For their nation. For their soul. For their right to take back their stolen childhoods.

Despite the normalisation of obscenity, there is hope. Profound hope. All studies have shown normalisation works both ways. When courage becomes common, we normalise heroism. When heroism becomes a condition of being human, we normalise nobility.

When we value humanity and art and science, beyond commerce, as something fundamental to our existence, something vital to our wellbeing, something capable of changing our world, we put those children’s sublime dreams and aspirations into action.

These children know we are braver than we believe. They understand that we will only comprehend courage in retrospect, after we have taken action, on their behalf. They have learned that we don’t have to fear liars. Or traitors. Or psychopaths.

These brave boys and girls are waiting for us. They are yearning for us to teach them what it means to go crazy for real. What it means to fight back. What it means to be what they need us to be. Powerful parents. Dragon slayers. Psycho killers.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


This morning.

Cook Street, Dublin 8

The scene where a homeless man died on Tuesday night.

The Poland-born man was the 27th person to die on Ireland’s streets in the last 16 months, according to Inner City Helping Homeless (ICCH)

Last month, the body of Poland-born Krzysztof Ciesielski was found on a park bench in Monaghan town.

Yesterday: In Dublin 8


Yesterday’s Fine Gael photo opportunity to support Michael D Higgins’ re-election in Grafton Street, Dublin 2 close to where the homeless are served soup and tea

Yesterday: Cosy

Gardaí have removed four housing activists who were occupying the council chamber at Cork City Hall.

The group who began their occupation at 11am this morning are calling on Cork City Council to declare a National Emergency on housing and homelessness and also to write to the Government requesting that a National Emergency Committee be established to deal with it.

A public protest will take place outside City Hall this evening at 5pm.

Update: Gardaí remove four housing activists occupying Cork City Hall (irish Examiner)