Saturday 24 February 2018

If you run a soup kitchen on the street, you need a permit - Brother Kevin Crowley

Brother Kevin Crowley
Brother Kevin Crowley

Ciara Treacy

A LEADING homeless campaigner has recommended that anyone operating soup kitchens in the city should apply for the correct permits.

Brother Kevin Crowley was speaking after a tent on Grafton St run by March for the Homeless was shut down at the weekend, for what gardai said were "health and safety reasons".

"I am not familiar with that particular soup kitchen but anything on the street needs a permit," Brother Crowley told the Herald.

READ MORE: Gardai shut down stall giving food to Dublin's homeless

"When we are doing a collection, we wouldn't dream of going downtown without garda permission.

"If they are erecting a tent, then they have to have permission.

"You can't take the law into your own hands or take over the streets either."

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Brother Kevin Crowley

Brother Kevin Crowley

Darren Bradley, who runs March for the Homeless, said he may apply for a permit to run the tent on the street but feels his group has been singled out.

"Until a garda comes up to me and says I need a permit, I'm not budging. [But] I will be following up with them because the homeless crisis is diabolical," he added, saying he wanted to know why his colleagues were told to close the kitchen at the weekend.

In response to the tent being shut down, gardai have said that "those involved in setting up the structure did not have permission from Dublin City Council.

"[They] were asked to remove the structures on the grounds that they were causing an obstruction and were a safety concern.

"We would ask anyone who wishes to set up structures on streets in the city to liaise with Dublin City Council," he said.

On Tuesday night, volunteers ran the tent as per usual and gardai allowed them to do so.

Mr Bradley was told by officers to move his van from the street and he complied with their instructions.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly, who has responsibility for tackling the homeless crisis, has called for "common sense" on the issue of permits for volunteers.

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