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13.38 1 Dec 2017


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Three of Ireland's most high-profile charities - Simon Community, Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland - have joined forces in a bid to ask people to donate their Irish Water refunds to help tackle the homeless crisis.

The organisations have come together to launch a campaign called The Refund Project.

It comes as 990,000 Irish Water customers are set to receive refunds amounting to a total of €173 million.

An oversight group for the new project is being chaired by Kieran Mulvey, the former head of the Workplace Relations Commission.

Mr Mulvey explained: "When we first floated this as a concept earlier this month we got a really positive public response. Thanks to a huge effort since then the refund project is today a reality and we are now accepting public donations.

"The idea has caught the public imagination simply because homelessness is such an enormous problem in this country today and we sense that ordinary people - as well as wanting the State to act - would like to be able to play their part too."

He added that the donations could be of 'enormous assistance' to the thousands of people currently homeless in Ireland.

In a joint statement, the three charities explained: "Not everybody will be able to contribute, but many people will have the means to donate - and it is to those that we direct this appeal.

"We would reiterate that the Refund Project will not diminish in any way the responsibility of government and policy makers to drive forward the national homelessness strategy."

The Refund Project campaign is set to run into the New Year.

Figures released by the Department of Housing showed almost 8,500 people in emergency accomodation in October - including 3,194 children.


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