PADDY McQUILLAN has never been so proud of the people of his home town.
As he stood with fellow politicans and volunteers from IFS-Statestreet in the cold and rain during the annual Drogheda Homeless Aid sleepout, he was overwhelmed by the generosity they displayed.
'You can see there's not too much money about but people made the effort for others in this town,' the SF councillor stated. ' They know there's many more in danger of homelessness than ever before. The Budget made sure of that.'
He revealed that some of those contributing during the night did ask for Deputy Gerald Nash, while he suggested some members of Fianna Fáil should come next year. ' This is apolitical and we all came out together to back this,' he said.
Frank Gallagher felt there was no point in anyone being a local councillor if they were not prepared to do something like this.
Representatives of Statestreet-IFS came along this year. One of them, Cormac Bohan, said he was delighted they could help.
The company donated €5,000, with each of the volunteers also getting sponsored. 'We got a taste of what being homeless is like and it's tough and educational. There was plenty of noise and colourful characters.'
Frank Godfrey felt the occasion should merit a mention for Sister Cait, who was such a driving force behind the charity in its infancy. 'I remember meeting her in 1980 and she said she wanted to do something for the homeless,' he stated. The Donore-based councillor slept on the steps of St Peter's for the night and admits it was tough. 'Full credit to the volunteers, the foot soldiers, for helping to collect the money,' he stated.
Cllr Ken Ó hEiligh built his own shelter under the Christmas tree, popping out for collections. He said locals were very generous.
Two FG councillors were standing side by side, Kevin Callan and Richie Culhane, both thanking the generosity of local pople.
Taking part were Mayor Paul Bell and councillors Kevin Callan, Richie Culhane, Ken Ó Heiligh, Paddy McQuillan, Frank Gallagher and Frank Godfrey. From IFS, Gavin McMahon, Deirdre McHugh, Cormac Bohan, John Martin and Suzanne Markey.
The figure from the street collection was €16,782.