Dublin's GPO hosts dinner party for homeless people

The event, known as Eric's Party, was held by the Dublin Lions Club

Dublin's GPO hosts dinner party for homeless people

File photo of the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street | Image: RollingNews.ie

Some 250 homeless people sat down to a banquet dinner in the GPO in Dublin on Friday night.

The event, known as Eric's Party, was held by the Dublin Lions Club and is now in its 59th year.

The title of the dinner is in honour of one the group's founding members, who set it up.

The Defence Forces were brought in to transform the historic building into a massive dining hall.

Setting up the tables | Image: Jack Quann

There was also entertainment in the form of a live band.

John Sheehy is president of the Dublin Lions Club. He says they pick this time of year for several reasons.

"Christmas is a tough time, but charity tends to be (on) people's minds - but it's January, it's particularly cold out there tonight, and unfortunately some people don't have homes to go to.

"It's a nice time to bring a bit of cheer, and a bit of joyment on occasion if we can do so".

"This event has been running for 59 years and it was run in a number of different locations (such as) the Mansion House - but we're delighted here now in the GPO for its third year."

Image: Jack Quann

"A lot of our guests have been here before.

"The demographic of people here is shockingly young - and they're people, they're citizens of our State, and people from our city centre".

Image: Jack Quann

Commandant Dorothy Donnelly works in the logistics branch of the Defence Forces.

She explained their role in the dinner, for the third year running.

“We have a work party of 16 from Cathal Brugha Barracks, we have 11 cooks from the Defence Forces School of Catering, who are actually on an advanced young entry course - they're doing their level six in catering.

"They've cooked all and prepared all the food."

The menu at the dinner | Image: Jack Quann

"Part of our core skills and part of our core values are actually respect and selflessness - and we've had a lot of opportunities unfortunately to help people who are in very difficult circumstances with flooding and flooding relief... this is all part of soldiers day-to-day life.

"Their overseas trips, they meet communities that are in challenging circumstances and they have to assist them.

"And that's all part and parcel of life in the Defence Forces.

"We're delighted to be involved with the homeless party - it's led by the Lions Club - and with the Garda Síochána and the GPO staff".