Monday 29 December 2014

Problem of homelessness ignored due to Garth Brooks' saga - Dublin's Lord Mayor

* Cllr Christy Burke says 'real' problems are being ignored
* Medical cards, housing and homelessness need more attention
* Says the Croke Park gigs are now up Garth Brooks

Eoghan McNeill

Published 14/07/2014 | 15:21

Christy Burke
Independent councillor Christy Burke

DUBLIN’S homelessness problem is far more deserving of attention than the Garth Brooks’ concert, the city’s lord mayor has said.

Cllr Christy Burke has criticised the media for the amount of attention they have paid to the Brooks saga, saying there are far more worthy subjects for them to focus on.

“I swear to God, since twenty to six this morning my phone has been off the hook with journalists asking about the Garth Brooks gigs. It’s become a farce,” he said.

The Independent councillor listed problems he was trying to deal with – such as families in need of housing and elderly patients unable to obtain medical cards – before asking why Irish media are choosing to instead focus on the Croke Park gigs.

Burke maintains “the oxygen” has gone out of the event, and once enthusiastic fans from the US and across Europe have lost interest in the gigs – whether they go ahead or not.

“The Garth Brooks gig is up to Garth Brooks,” he told independent.ie.

His comments came as it was reported that a heavily pregnant woman found unconscious on Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge several weeks ago is homeless again.

The lord mayor made a fresh appeal for the woman to contact him to secure temporary accommodation.

Last month, charity volunteers found the woman on O’Connell Bridge in a “semi-conscious state.” It has been reported today she is sleeping rough again. 

The politician has pledged to find the woman temporary accommodation, and called for her to contact him “at any hour.”

“If she’s homeless and pregnant, I guarantee I’ll get a bed for her one way or another,” said Burke.

“It might be a B&B, it might be a hotel. I can’t speculate on the specifics, but I will put a roof over her head,” he added.

He called for the woman to register with the Central Placement Service – a Dublin City Council service that helps homeless people find temporary accommodation.

He also said he was “going to kick up stink” over the woman not being registered with the service in the first place, following being found by volunteers on O’Connell Bridge a month ago.

Irish Independent

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