Thursday 23 November 2017

Keep being generous, Higgins tells volunteers

President Michael D Higgins shakes the hand of Scott Buckley from the North Circular Road during a vist by the president to the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
President Michael D Higgins shakes the hand of Scott Buckley from the North Circular Road during a vist by the president to the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Brian Byrne

THE President told homeless charity volunteers they "mustn't be dislodged" by the recent top-ups controversy.

At Focus Ireland's Dublin Coffee Shop, Michael D Higgins said he hoped that "all those people who have been helping organisations like this, and helping the other very important voluntary charitable organisations, are not put off by what has been recently published".

He said: "Our reputation around the world is a reputation as a generous people. We must continue to be generous."

UNTENABLE

Focus Ireland CEO Joyce Loughnan said 60pc of its funding was from the Government -- but added that they didn't know from one year to the next how much money they would get.

She called their current financial situation "untenable".

"Every month we're working with about 16 new families. That's about five children every week who are becoming homeless for the first time.

"The main reason is there just isn't the availability of homes that are affordable."

Mr Higgins called access to accommodation "a fundamental right", and said the homeless needed a response "that accepts the public obligation that public housing is".

Irish Independent

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