Homeless group staging ten-night Dáil sleep-out

Organisers are calling on as many people as possible to come down and show their solidarity each morning

Homeless group staging ten-night Dáil sleep-out

Image: Homes NOT Hostels Sleep Out/Facebook

A group of homeless people are calling for public support as they continue a ten-day sleep out in front of government buildings.

The group are aiming to highlight the homelessness crisis and deliver the message to government that people need “homes not hostels.”

The homeless sleepers are joined by soup run organisers and campaigners with the protest set to run for ten nights in a row – finishing up next Friday 14th April.

Image: Homes NOT Hostels Sleep Out/Facebook

The group said TDs, senators and members of the public are welcome to come and hear first-hand the struggles facing rough sleepers on Irish streets every night.

Homelessness crisis

The latest government homelessness figures show that there were 7,421 homeless people in Ireland this February – an 89% rise on the same time last year, when there were 3,930.

One of the organisers of the protest, Carrie Hennessy said the group is hoping as many people as possible will come and show their solidarity each morning between 8am and 10am.

“I am just asking people to come out in the morning times and let the homeless people know that they do actually have a bit of public support,” she said.

“The public were brilliant when we were in Apollo House. The public got right behind it and it was brilliant.

“But right now we haven’t got any support whatsoever off the public, the activists, any homeless services; the only one we do have the support of is the homeless soup kitchens.”

Image: Homes NOT Hostels Sleep Out/Facebook

Ms Hennessy said the group have already been met with opposition, and they are accusing Gardaí of being 'heavy-handed' in moving people on.

“All the homeless people felt so intimidated that they had to walk away,” she said. “They were being threatened to be arrested for absolutely no reason.”

“I am in emergency accommodation, I am in a B&B and I came back so upset to see people that are actually feeling motivated at the moment to have a voice - to see them being treated like that, it was absolutely disgraceful.”

While the group is not taking direct donations, anyone wanting to contribute is asked to give directly to their local soup run.

Rock against Homelessness

Meanwhile the Olympia Theatre is hosting a major concert tonight in response to the “shameful, even shocking, homeless crisis in Ireland.”

Frames front-man Glen Hansard yesterday joined the line-up that includes the likes of the Boomtown Rats, HamsandwicH, Delorentos and Finbar Furey.

Homeless musician Danny Bracken, accompanied by Paul Brady and Dave Fleming, will also take to the stage.

The ‘Rock against Homelessness’ event aims to raise vital funds in aid of focus Ireland and build awareness of the homeless issues.

Funds raised from the gig last year allowed Focus Ireland support over 300 families to secure a home and leave homelessness.

Stand up and shout

HamsandwicH’s Niamh Farrell said that with homelessness at crisis point in Ireland, it is time to “stand up and shout as loud as we can that we won't stand for it.”

“Everyone deserves a safe, warm space to go to when the day is over and so many people don't have this,” she said.

“No one should be left out in the cold, we need to reach out and help each other as much as we can."

Focus Ireland communications officer Michelle Moran said there are now 2,407 homeless children in Ireland – with a child becoming homeless every five hours in Dublin last month.

“This is unacceptable and wrong and our staff are working every single day with families and individuals to help them overcome the terrible impact being homeless has on them,” she said.

Tickets for the special event are still available at Ticketmaster.ie