Jack Quann
Jack Quann

22.21 26 May 2021


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The head of a homeless charity says some people are sleeping next to Garda stations just to have somebody keep an eye on them.

Alice Leahy was speaking as the issue of homeless people sleeping in doorways has recently come back to the fore.

It comes after a doorway in south Dublin, used by some as shelter, was boarded up earlier this week.

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The hoarding in Rathmines has since been removed.

The building is owned by the Department of Education, who said it is a fire exit and will be required to support the Leaving Certificate exams.

Alice Leahy of the Alice Leahy Trust told Newstalk's Josh Crosbie for The Hard Shoulder that more people are now staying in tents.

"An awful lot of people now have got tents, people are very visible - they're in shop doorways, they're in parks.

"They're probably in places where they're not hiding away, and I think that is one big difference."

She said those in charge need to look at the bigger picture.

"I think the politicians need to wise up too and look at the wider issues.

"If they don't look at the wider issues, we're going to have more and more people becoming homeless because their other issues aren't being addressed.

"And there are beds out there, and you have to ask yourself: why is it people won't move into beds?

"And the answer of course, is, that very often people have had terrible experiences of maybe living with other people.

"I would know some people, very troubled people, who will pick a place near a Garda station because they know there'll be somebody keeping a watchful eye over them."

Asked about businesses putting in measures to stop homeless people sleeping in their doorways, she said: "They have a right to protect their business.

"If their customers are trying to go in, they're not going to go in if they're stepping over urine and feces and vomit.

"And certainly public health should be looking at their right to keep a clean space.

"But as I say that, I am also very conscious of the fact that there are so many people out there who are homeless who are causing no problems to anyone".

Josh also spoke to one homeless woman, who told him she is often cleared from doorways in the mornings.

"Six in the morning, seven in the morning - it's bad, it's horrible.

"It's the only place you can get in Dublin - you're lying down there then there's people coming up try to take whatever you have on you off you.

"It's not fair. Even the police comes up here in the mornings and wake you up like, at 5.30 in the morning."

While a man, who has been homeless for over five years, said he has often been attacked.

"Sometimes I'm sleeping at the doorways on a rainy night - I get pushed off by people, owners of shops.

"Young fellas coming up kicking me in my sleep... getting kicked in and around the ribs.

"Getting your stuff getting robbed, thrown out on the ground - and other times then if you get into a hostel, it's like a five star hotel."

He said he understands that shop owners can be frustrated about finding things on their premises, especially drug paraphernalia.

"But I don't believe in drugs, I'm the sort of person you know I don't take drugs.

"To the shop owners they're 100% right at that, but if the Government was any way right.

"They're getting so many million there for the last number of years, and really nothing was done about it".

Homeless people 'sleeping next to Garda stations so somebody will keep an eye on them'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Alice Leahy  of The Alice Leahy Trust in Rathmines in Dublin. Picture by: Josh Crosbie

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