Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.30 11 Feb 2019


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A new campaign is hoping to raise awareness of homelessness among veterans of the Defence Forces.

The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel/Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (O.N.E) is situating veterans in specially-created Tricolour sleeping bags around the streets of Dublin.

Dubbed 'Sleeping Flags', the symbolic act is challenging protocols around the treatment and representation of the Irish flag.

It is being used to represent the homeless veterans who died on Dublin's streets, which was the catalyst for O.N.E setting up its first homeless hostel.

To date, the O.N.E has helped hundreds of homeless Defence Forces veterans, who have served abroad in conflict zones including The Congo, Lebanon, Syria and the Mediterranean - or at home during The Troubles.

Organisers say many come to them with depression, disabilities, PTSD, or having suffered family breakdowns.

A 'sleeping flag' as part of the O.N.E campaign | Image: Supplied

Ollie O'Connor is the CEO of O.N.E: "Our first homeless hostel opened in direct response to a number of veterans dying on the streets of Dublin.

"Since then, we've helped over 900 homeless veterans from all over Ireland who could have faced the same situation.

"These Sleeping Flags are bags we never wanted to make, but if we can't get enough funding, our veterans will end up back on the streets".

O.N.E. resident Fran | Image: Supplied

Set against Ireland's current homelessness crisis, the preventive services O.N.E. offer over 16,000 bed nights every year, between Dublin, Letterkenny and Athlone.

They say 95% of the veterans are then helped to move on to permanent housing.

"The men and women we're helping have a special affinity with the Tricolour. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and our next door neighbours who joined the Irish Defence Forces to serve their country.

"When they joined up, they were young fit men and women. They didn't put up their hands to become homeless veterans," Mr O'Connor added.


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Campaign Homeless Veterans Homelessness Irish Defence Forces O.N.E Sleeping Flags Veterans Of The Defence Forces

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