Thursday 27 July 2017

‘We won’t be giving up’ - Organiser of soup kitchen for homeless as van is seized

Gardai get Darren Bradley of The March for The Homeless to move his van from the street at Grafton St
Gardai get Darren Bradley of The March for The Homeless to move his van from the street at Grafton St
March for The Homeless Team (from left) Lisa Daly, Kathleen Maher, Darren Bradley, Pastor, James White, John Martin and Sinead Kane at their food stand at Grafton Street

Ciara Treacy

The organiser of March for the Homeless has said the soup kitchen will not be “giving up” after gardai seized his van because it was not taxed.

Officers shut down the group’s kitchen on Grafton Street last weekend for “health and safety reasons” because they did not have a permit.

Darren Bradley said the van was taken after the kitchen had finished its work on Thursday night.

Gardai discovered the van was untaxed when they asked Mr Bradley to move it two nights before.

“The gardai said they would give me a break after they checked my van, but they gave me a break of just one day,” he said. “I thought it would be two to three weeks, maybe.”

The volunteers were allowed to serve food on Thursday night despite their lack of a permit, which Mr Bradley said he may apply for shortly.

Gardai and March for the Homeless volunteers discuss the issue on Harry Street, just off
Grafton Street
Gardai and March for the Homeless volunteers discuss the issue on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street
People gather at The March for The Homeless Stand at Grafton St
People gather at The March for The Homeless Stand at Grafton St

He expressed his frustration that his van was taken.

“They set up a checkpoint on the top of Grafton Street. They pulled me in and told me my tax has been out for a while,” he said.

“They seized the van with everything in it and left me and my girlfriend on Grafton Street at 11.45pm.”

A garda spokeswoman confirmed the incident.

Read more: 'It is heartbreaking' - Gardai shut down stall giving food to Dublin's homeless

“The van was untaxed and seized in accordance with Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act.

Gardai will not be commenting further on the matter,” she said.

The stall was closed down last weekend by gardai on the grounds of “health and safety” concerns and because the group did not have the required permit.

“We would ask anyone who wishes to set up structures

on streets in the city to liaise with Dublin City Council,” a garda spokesman later said.

Mr Bradley remained defiant last night.

“It’s not about permits or the van, it’s about the homeless getting food,” he said.

“We’re not collecting money, we’re not selling anything, we don’t need a permit to give out free food,” he said, but added that he does intend to get his van taxed.

“We’ll be back at the same time, at the same place,” he said.

“We’re not giving up. We’ll keep going. Someone has donated €1,000 to the online fund-raising account.

“People want to see the good work continue.”

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