Saturday 21 April 2018

Businesses open their doors to homeless people as 'devastating' Hurricane Ophelia makes landfall

Many businesses are opening their doors to homeless people
Many businesses are opening their doors to homeless people
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Businesses across Ireland are providing shelter for homeless people in a bid to keep people safe while "devastating" Hurricane Ophelia slams the country.

A Met Éireann spokesman told Newstalk Breakfast that Ophelia has "the potential to cause more devastation than any storm we've ever had".

One business going above and beyond is Tallaght Adventure World in Dublin which invited rough sleepers to spend the night there.

The indoor playcentre put a call out for volunteers to assist and said they received a "huge response".

"Due to tomorrow's extreme weather conditions all rough sleepers are invited to Tallaght Adventure World overnight. We hope to find out 1st thing in the morning is there enough beds and a back up plan from the council," they wrote on their Facebook page.

Fassaroe Community Centre in Bray, Co Wicklow is also providing shelter for homeless people. The centre will open at 9am and remain open throughout the night.

Marnic House B&B in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo is providing refuge to any rough sleepers too

The Peter McVerry Trust has initiated its emergency response protocols across the country also.

It recommends all rough sleepers to access emergency shelter and added that it was opening up all communal spaces – such as kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms – at its city centre locations to provide space.

Emergency accommodation centres for the homeless are to remain open all day to offer shelter from the storm.

In a statement, they said: "Dublin: The Street Outreach Team in Dublin have been instructed to strongly encourage all rough sleepers that they encounter to access emergency shelter or other homeless services. Peter McVerry Trust will provide transport support to enable rough sleepers to take up these options.

"Kildare: Our Newbridge service (Eyre Street - Tel -045 450990) and Athy Family Hub (Contact on 087 175 9524 located at former Dominican Priory) have been designated safe spaces for rough sleepers in the county and we are coordinating efforts with local groups at Kildare County Council. Transport is available to bring people to these services.

"Our service at St Catherine Foyer, Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8 will offer additional exceptional spaces to provide emergency overnight placements for 25 people."

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has urged people to report sightings of homeless people who may require help on the website homelessdublin.ie.

Teams of volunteers are also on the streets in Dublin urging people to find a safe place ahead of the storm's peak this afternoon.

Mr Murphy said accommodation centres that usually close during the day will remain open.

"Nobody will be forced out of accommodation as long as the storm," Mr Murphy.

The minister was speaking after meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in Agriculture House in Kildare Street.

Ahead of the meeting four homeless people were sleeping rough outside the Dublin city centre building.

How is Ophelia affecting you today? Send your comments and pictures to contact@independent.ie, if it is safe to do so. 

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