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Fury at Waterways Ireland in homeless evictions - Cllr Chris Curran

17 November, 2018 - by Chris Curran

Sinn Féin Councillor for Sandyford Glencullen Chris Curran has demanded that Waterways Ireland explain its campaign against homeless people.

His comments come after he spent the night working with the emergency outreach teams of Dublin's Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) charity.

"I wanted to know how the group operated. I wanted to see first hand the extent of homelessness on our streets. It's a huge logistical operation with both walking and mobile teams located on different sides of the city.

"I worked with a mobile team that covered the south side of the city centre as far as Ballsbridge and Rathmines. 

"The team that I worked with, encountered a variety of service users; men, women, young, old, Irish and foreign nations. 

"I couldn't help notice how service users accepted their situation so easily. The rest of society would be furious if it were us. I can only assume that it was a case of beaten down spirits amongst some of those I met.

"I witnessed truly humbling solidarity amongst those on the streets. In Rathmines, I saw one homeless man assist another by bandaging his injured head and another hold food and water until the others came back to their usual sleeping place.

"In another case, I witness the joy on a man's face when the team gave him a simple sleeping mat because it meant that tonight his sleep would be a little more comfortable.

"Although the mat would help tonight, should it rain his sleeping bag would be redundant and a new one would need to be found.

"A dry pair of socks, heat or the ability make a late night cup of tea, the day to day things that we take for granted, are a luxury to those on the streets. 

"In the case of the injured man in Rathmines, the Gardaí were on-scene. They were tremendous. They waited with the couple until the ambulance arrived. They treated the men with real compassion, dignity and respect.

"I couldn't help but think that those on the streets were once somebody's child. They once played in the schoolyard and shared normal lives with the rest of us. The cruelty of life brought them on a different path and today they find themselves barely surviving as the weather begins to change and temperatures drop. 

"I was shocked to learn that around Baggot Street, Waterways Ireland had begun a campaign to clear the canal area of tents. They apparently cleared away tents along with the occupant's belongings in an attempt to move homeless on. 

"This situation is absurd because those on the streets return to the same location and rebuild.

"While the rest of us enjoy the splendour around the canal area of our city, to brush away homelessness from our business areas is not acceptable and I want Waterway Ireland to explain why they do this?

"I commend the volunteers involved, for their dedication is second to none. I also want to thank all those businesses who contribute to homelessness for without them, services like this wouldn't be possible."

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