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Monday 19 August 2019

'Emotional' day as homeless treated to Christmas dinner

Volunteer Katie Hogan gets a hug from Michael McCabe at the Knights of Columbanus Christmas Dinner in the RDS. Photos: Mark Condren
Volunteer Katie Hogan gets a hug from Michael McCabe at the Knights of Columbanus Christmas Dinner in the RDS. Photos: Mark Condren

Robin Schiller and Luke Byrne

There were two proposals at Apollo House over the weekend as more than 100 residents and volunteers enjoyed an "emotional" Christmas Day.

More than 30 homeless men and women were catered for by leading chef Temple Garner, while musician Glen Hansard also performed.

Ioana Retean with her children Karmina and Andreas and their cousin Patricia Kovacs at Christmas dinner in the RDS. Photo: Mark Condren
Ioana Retean with her children Karmina and Andreas and their cousin Patricia Kovacs at Christmas dinner in the RDS. Photo: Mark Condren

Brendan Ogle of the Home Sweet Home group described it as an "emotional day".

"We were full to capacity and 100 people, including residents and volunteers, sat down for Christmas dinner at 12.30pm," he said.

"It was certainly a very emotional day, and I believe we had two engagements as well.

"One major retailer - who asked not to be named - also donated skincare products and deodorants, so 80 of those products were gifted out, which was great to see."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin also paid tribute to the scores of volunteers who gave up their time to help feed those less fortunate at Christmas.

The archbishop was joined by Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr at the RDS, in Ballsbridge, Dublin, where the poor, needy and homeless were treated to a Christmas dinner for free.

There was a festive atmosphere at the event as the diners laughed and joked together.

Both Dr Martin and Mr Carr took time to walk the hall and speak with some of the 500 people present.

"It's tremendous to see so many young volunteers who are prepared to get out here and that they're prepared to do something on a day like today. That's a sign of hope," Dr Martin said.

Mr Carr said the homeless have not been forgotten and said he hoped next year they would be enjoying Christmas dinner in homes of their own.

Addressing those that had gathered, he said work was being done "around the clock" to solve the homelessness crisis.

"These people have to be given homes, not houses," he added.

Guests were treated to Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and mild refreshments.

They were delighted when the Sam Maguire Cup was paraded around the room - full of chocolates.

Entertainment was also provided at the event, adding to the Christmas cheer.

As a special treat, Eurovision Song Contest winner Paul Harrington was on hand to sing for the guests.

Irish Independent

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