A Dublin city soup run volunteer says workers are ‘constantly on alert’ for violence when helping the poor and homeless in the city.
Following a series of assaults that have been reported in the capital since the beginning of the year, there have been calls on Gardaí to increase their presence around Dublin City.
On Lunchtime Live today, Marianne, a volunteer with the Mustard Seed soup run, said the organisation typically work in areas where some of these attacks have happened.
"We work in around Talbot Street, Gardner Street, we go into O'Connell Street, Henry Street over to Temple Bar," she said.
"As sad as it is that this American tourist was attacked for no apparent reason, it's really indicative of the nightly horrors that occur in our city streets, that we have witnessed.
"We provide warm food and clothing and comfort to the homeless in the city, but from what I can see, our city is in crisis."
Marianne said volunteers have to be "constantly on alert" when providing their services around the city.
"We have witnessed assaults, both verbal and physical," she said, "We've witnessed aggression, theft, destruction of property."
"There's been groups of people, maybe on electric scooters, whizzing by us, dressed in black, quite threatening.
"We've witnessed groups of people shouting while taking bags up and down Henry Street.
"Most of the [homeless] victims never make a report, they'd say to us, 'Well, it's part of living on the streets' and this is very common.
"If you look in front of the GPO, there's homeless people being fed on our main street in our main city, they are in their hundreds. "
Due to the growing number of people who are availing of the soup run, Mustard Seed can no longer sustain their volunteering with their current funding.
"We've had to temporarily suspend our seven-night weekly run because of financial issues, which leads to manpower issues and personal safety," Marianne said.
"We're now currently looking for sponsorship and volunteers to keep us going – we're still out on a Monday night. But we're trying to do the best we can, we're all volunteers."
Marianne said she has helped both male and female homeless people who have been beaten and severely injured by random attacks.
"People have been beaten and left with injuries, they're upset, they're destitute," she said.
"We've had many homeless friends who are familiar to us at this stage, and over time, we can see how they become frustrated and angry or just apathetic."
Marianne said Gardaí are a "great support" for the organisation but are "overwhelmed" by the crime rate.
"I don't know what the answer is, but there has to be something," she said.
"I was thinking maybe about building a consortium between all the volunteer groups, [and] maybe we could liaise with the Government and the Gardaí to bring the real number of assaults.
"I don't think they're being monitored properly because most people who are in that situation and homeless don't report it.
"The fact that we can't go out seven nights a week, you worry about the regular people that we've gotten to know over the years that have lived on the street for years.
"There are people living in doorways who were waiting for us to come up to give them some hot soup ... now we can't do our work because of the situation."