Saturday 22 October 2016

Behind the homelessness figures are suffering human beings

Published 17/08/2015 | 02:30

The Government has a duty to help
The Government has a duty to help

Recently, I helped in selling daffodils for Our Lady's Hospice. I and my friend decided we would walk around the many streets and lanes of Dublin in an attempt to sell our daffodils.

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We came across a man on Wicklow Street. Just from the clothes he was wearing and the state he was in you could tell that this man was one of many people sleeping rough in Dublin.

As we approached him, he waved us over to him, stood up and said: "May I please get a daffodil off you?" What he did next made my heart feel heavy, as it would with anyone else.

He tipped the money that he had been collecting all day into our bucket. We couldn't believe that this man, who had nothing, had given the money he could have used to buy food or something comforting and had given it to charity. He told us his reasoning was because the community always gives him something and it was time to give back to the community.

As I look at the crisis of homelessness so prevalent in Dublin right now, I ask myself this question. This man who had nothing, who wanted to give something back. What exactly is the Government doing for him?

This poor man is one of 2,400 people sleeping rough in Dublin. What can the Government say it has done to help the homeless? A maxed-out credit card for accommodation and then replace it with a couple of sleeping bags.

There is a quote by Brian Tracy that sums up homelessness and the Government trying to help.

It says: "Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'"

Andrew Fox

Ardpatrick Road, Navan Road

Dublin 7


Housing strategy is needed

It would seem that this Government, which promised so much, is spending millions every month on rent allowance and hotel accommodation to alleviate the huge housing crisis, with little or no effect.

On the face of it, the Government appears to be adopting a short-term fix to a problem which is to the detriment of a good long-term solution. On particular schemes, rent allowance of up to €700 per month can be claimed, which is in fact what most people would pay on a long-term mortgage for a modest home.

Why then can't the Government or county councils borrow the money to build houses using the same rent allowance to make repayments? The money is going out anyway.

If county councils were to build large schemes of houses, the build cost of those houses would come down as a result. When the tenants moved in, the council would charge rent, which reduces the cost even more.

It is 'gombeen' economics to believe you can throw hard-earned taxpayers' money at a problem without any real long-term strategy.

Eugene McGuinness

40 Bishop Birch Place



No jobs boom from this cable

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has hailed the landing of a seabed fibre optic cable at Killala, Co Mayo as "the most important landing since General Humbert in 1798".

Well, I hope the people of the region will not be as disappointed with this as they must have been with the outcome of the 1798 landing.

From 1858, telecommunications cables have been laid between the west coast of Ireland and North America, followed by the building of wireless telegraphy transmitters.

Experience to date has shown that, except for the initial construction phase, very little, if any, long-term employment has been gained by the local population.

The first 'upload/download on the first cable laid between Newfoundland and Valentia island Co Kerry was between president Buchanan in the US and Queen Victoria in London. Indeed, continuously evolving technology has led to less personnel being required to operate and maintain stations of this nature.

Most employment was probably given to the turf cutters who fuelled the generator which powered Marconi's transmitter in Clifden before republican forces burned it down.

I think perhaps Enda was indulging in a bit of pre-election hype.

Brian Gillen

Marine Radio Officer (retired)

Beech Drive, Dublin 16


Men are to blame for the crash

Nick Folley tells us we should not be 'forced to vote' for women and that parties should 'put forward more suitable female candidates' (Letters, August 15).

If the parties put forward more suitable male candidates on the nearly 90pc-male ballot paper in recent elections, this country might not have gone broke and might not have had a bailout.

Nobody is being forced to vote for women. There will more women candidates on the ballot paper but it will still be predominantly male.

A Leavy

Shielmartin Drive,

Sutton, Dublin 13


It's a tough life Down Under

Cairns Hospital in far North Queensland, Australia kept a woman waiting on a trolley for two hours before admitting her.

This delay was the lead story in 'The Cairns Post', leading to profuse apologies, the opening of eight emergency beds and a promise that the target of admitting 90pc of patients within 30 minutes would be met in future.

Oh, and it's 26C.

Dr John Doherty

Cairns, Queensland


Churchill's top-class put-down

Mention of Winston Churchill's favourite whiskey reminded me of his response when a lady accused him of being drunk.

"Yes, madam, I am drunk, and in the morning I will be sober, but you will still be ugly."

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


RTÉ TV offers us poor fare

Isn't it about time for some honest debate on the general quality of so-called RTÉ stars?

What passes nowadays for entertainment or serious programming falls far short of real substance. Even trivial game shows use to be hosted by top-of-the-range show people, such as the late Cilla Black. And then there were comics who had done their time in the 'hard knocks' working men's clubs, such as Les Dawson, Michael Barrymore, Frankie Howard and the ageless Bruce Forsyth..

It seems to me that the present generation are easily pleased. When will the time come when real substantial talent is the benchmark and we bin the posers?

Victor Feldman

Joy Street, Ringsend, Dublin 4

Irish Independent

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