Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.40 16 Jan 2020


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An image of an elderly woman eating her dinner from a plastic plate on a windowsill in Dublin city centre has been shared widely online.

The picture was posted by the Homeless Street Café just before midnight on Tuesday.

In the caption, the café said that the work it does each night is, “nothing but a plaster or a band-aid on what is just an horrific wound.”

“This issue is beyond crisis,” said the author. “People always want to talk to us about the children we meet and how sad that is.”

“If I’m honest I find the older generation that use our service even more heart-breaking. It seems there is no time left for change for them – a dearth of hope really.

“To be living in food or heat poverty at their age; relying on a soup kitchen for necessities is horrifying to witness.

“I watch this woman eat her meal from a plastic bowl on a windowsill every week and I despair that this is her ‘golden years.’”

Homeless Street Café organiser Denise Carroll said the woman makes use of the service quite a lot.

“She is a very quiet and shy woman,” she said. “Not all of the elderly are homeless but they may be living in food and heat poverty.”

“This lady usually comes, she eats really well and she starts to tidy up in the street around us afterwards – I suppose maybe to give herself some dignity that she is helping us.

“We believe that she has shelter but she is definitely in need of food.”

Late last year, the café posted an image of a young boy eating his dinner on a sheet of cardboard in the city centre and Ms Carroll said deprivation is affecting people form the cradle to the grave in Ireland.

Homeless Child A five-year-old boy eating dinner on a cardboard sheet on a Dublin City Centre street. Image: The Homeless Street Café

“We have had two photographs lately that have gotten some attention,” said Ms Carroll.

“We have had children and now we have the elderly.”

“I think these are all just symbols of the varied amount of people who are coming to us.

“It would be a lot easier to accept homelessness if maybe these were all people who didn’t want a home. Maybe had grave addiction problems and so on.

“But it is a very varied thing and I think these pictures show that. Really we are going from birth to grave here.”

Homeless Windowsill The scene at Wilton Terrace in Dublin after a man was seriously injured as his tent was moved while he was sleeping in it, 15-01-2020. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

It comes as a homeless man remains in hospital this morning, after he was injured as workers moved his tent while he was sleeping in it.

The man suffered what were described as “life-changing” injuries after his tent was moved by a utility vehicle.

There are several investigations into the incident ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has insisted he has “never sought to make homelessness a party-political issue” after he called on the Lord Mayor of Dublin to comment on the incident.


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Elderly Woman Food Heat Homeless Homeless Street Café Poverty

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