Monday, September 19, 2005

Some recent Press Coverage Of Street Seen Rally

Continually updated Link @ Indymedia:

Irish Times:

Anti-homelessness campaigners will stage a rally in Dublin tomorrow following the death of three people sleeping rough in the city last week.A number of homeless people are due to speak at the event, which is being advertised in hostels and other emergency accommodation typically used by the homeless.

Mark Grehan of organisers Street Seen said it expected several hundred people at the event, "including a very big turnout from the homeless community" .The move follows the death of two adults and a 17-year-old youth in a 48-hour period last week, the latter having suffered a drug overdose.

Anti-homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said: "Our failure to eliminate homelessness, in this the second wealthiest country in the world, is nothing short of a scandal. "Homelessness and housing waiting lists both doubled during the 'Celtic Tiger' years when this country had more money than we knew what to do with - but giving some of it to the poor was not a choice that we were willing to make."I would encourage everyone to attend Saturday's event to show solidarity with our homeless community."

The protest will take place at 2pm at the Central Bank on Dame Street. Independent TD Finian McGrath and Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins are due to speak at the event, while Labour and Sinn Féin have also pledged their support, according to the organisers. Mr Grehan said more people would die on the streets unless action was taken. "It's only September. The weather is going to get worse," he warned, adding: "Current Government ministers are much more willing to give themselves another massive pay increase than to divert proper resources to address the issue of homelessness in Ireland. "

He said the organisers planned to hold a "street meeting" after the rally for the homeless community to give it a chance "to speak for itself".People attending the protest on Saturday have been asked to bring along "spare sleeping bags, blankets and non-perishable foodstuffs for distribution to those in need"

.A 2004 survey conducted by homeless organisations in Dublin city, and co-ordinated by the Homeless Agency, indicated that some 237 people slept rough in Dublin city centre on a regular basis, and close to 100 slept on the streets every night of the week.

Daily Ireland:

Anti Poverty Campaigners have urged the public to a attend rally in Dublin this weekend to highlight the plight of those forced to sleep rough. Three homeless people died on the streets on Dublin in recent weeks. Campaigners say a chronic housing shortage and a shambolic approach to providing support services have added to the misery of our most vulnerable citizens.Under the Slogan
the Anti Poverty newspaper, STREET SEEN, hopes to draw a large crowd to the Dublin demonstration.

It is estimated that 237 people sleep rough on the streets of Dublin every night. Mark Grehan of STREET SEEN said that more needed to be done to support homeless people. ‘It is a disgrace that hundreds of people are consigned to sleeping on Ireland’s cold streets every night. The recent deaths of three homeless people in Dublin acts as a tragic wake up call to the people of Ireland and to the powers- that- be, to sort out the crisis in housing and associated services.

On Saturday there will be a sizable ‘homeless’ contingent which will be voicing its anger at the current situation. Saturday will offer an opportunity for the homeless community to be heard... There are service providers that do look into the issue but they are chronically under funded. The government looks at homeless people as not being vote givers and therefore they tend to concentrate on issues that will win them votes’, said Mr Grehan.

Trade unions, anti poverty groups and church leaders have thrown their weight behind the rally. Fr Peter McVerry, who has a deep interest in the welfare of homeless people, called on people to attend tomorrow’s event. ‘Homeless people are homeless by choice. But it is a choice that others make. Our failure to eliminate homelessness, in this the second wealthiest country in the world, is nothing short of a scandal. Homelessness, and housing waiting lists, both doubled during the Celtic Tiger years when this country had more money than we knew what to do with - but giving some of it to the poor was not a choice that we were willing to make. I would encourage everyone to attend Saturday’s event to show solidarity with our homeless community"

Organisers have called on those attending the rally to take along sleeping bags, blankets and non perishable food for distribution to those in need. The event will take place tomorrow at 2pm at the Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin 2

For more information call Mark Grehan in the Republic on 087 797 4622

Ireland online

Campaigners are calling for hundreds of Dubliners to turn out to show solidarity for the homeless at a rally today protesting against the recent deaths of three people sleeping rough in the city.Independent TD Finian McGrath is joining representatives of the Labour Party and Sinn Féin as well as members of the homeless community and protesters at the demonstration outside Central Bank at 2pm today

.Ahead of the rally, Sinn Féin spokesman on social and family affairs Sean Crowe called on as many people as possible to turn out and show solidarity with the homeless. “The recent deaths of three people sleeping rough on the streets must not be repeated,” he said.“It is totally unacceptable that homeless people should be dying on the streets of our cities in the midst of a so-called Celtic Tiger economy.“With winter only beginning there is an urgent need for the Government to address this issue and a big turnout on Saturday will go a long way in focusing them on what needs to be done. The people of Dublin need to send a message to the Government that these deaths are a blight on them and their record,” Mr Crowe said.

The ‘No more death on our streets’ rally is being co-ordinated by anti-poverty paper Street Seen and organiser Mark Grehan said he hoped around 200 people would turn up in support of the campaign. “We’re calling on the Government to put proper and effective resources in this area – it’s not just about putting a roof over people’s heads, it’s also about putting in counselling and other services,” he said.As well as helping people who were homeless, resources were also needed to prevent people becoming homeless and to stop people falling back into homelessness, he said.

Sinn Féin Dublin councillor Daithi Doolan called on the Government to establish a task force to tackle homelessness in the capital as a matter of urgency. “Many of our politicians applaud themselves at the fact that Ireland has one of the richest economies in the world.“This claim is disgraced by the fact that despite the wealth, a record number of 237 people sleep on the streets of Dublin every night.“This was brought into stark reality when three people died on our streets recently simply because they could not get accommodation on the night of their deaths,” he said.

Irish Times
( Monday)
Homeless group begins campaign

Over 200 people joined a rally in Dublin on Saturday to protest over the problem of homelessness in Ireland, particularly in Dublin city. The demonstration was organised following the death of three people sleeping rough within the space of a week in Dublin city a fortnight ago.

At the protest outside the Central Bank, Dame Street, Mark Grehan, of organisers Street Seen, said the rally signalled the beginning of a new campaign. "In two to three weeks' time we will hold a public meeting. Then we will have a mass rally before staging a sleep-out outside the Dáil," he added.

A number of speakers voiced their concerns at the rally, including politicians and anti-homelessness campaigners as well as many homeless people. The key to this new campaign, Mr Grehan said, was the involvement of the homeless community towards solving this problem.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said: "Homeless people are invisible at the present time. We are not short of resources, we are short the political will to provide housing and care to all who need it."He said that in the run-up to the next general election, the political parties should make "cast-iron promises" to eradicate homelessness. "The Government looks after the super rich, the very rich and not at all the poor," he added.

Jeremy McHugh (32), originally from Kildare, is currently homeless and came out to support Saturday's demonstration. "If all homeless people come together and sleep outside Dáil Éireann, that's the only way this will be solved. We want the key to our own doors," he said.

Sinn Féin Cllr Daithí Doolan said it was a disgrace that 5,500 people in Ireland were homeless while the country enjoys such economic prosperity. He called on the Government to immediately "establish a taskforce to tackle homelessness in our capital". He also called on the Minister of State for Housing, Noel Ahern, to take responsibility and action. "People are dying for want of a home," he said. "Shame on you Noel Ahern."

The Labour Party, Residents Against Racism and other anti-homelessness campaigners also supported the demonstration.

At the end of the rally, Mr Grehan urged the assembled crowd to lobby their local TDs and councillors to take action on homelessness. A "street meeting" took place after the rally, which gave people from the homeless community an opportunity "to speak about issues that affect them," Mr Grehan said.


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