Christmas miracle as web photo helps homeless George find family

Homeless man George Cunningham who has been reunited with sister in time for Christmas

Ralph Riegel

A HOMELESS man will spend his first Christmas with his family in 12 years thanks to the power of social media and a keen-eyed photographer.

George Cunningham from Ballybrack in Dublin admitted he was "absolutely overwhelmed" by the incredible reaction to his photo being posted on the 'Humans of Ireland' Facebook page.

He had feared having to raise €100 just to stay in a Cork bed and breakfast and secure a hot dinner on Christmas Day.

But, thanks to the web, George now plans to spend Christmas with his elderly mother, his two sisters and extended family.

"I find it all hard to believe," he said.

"I kind of lost contact with my family and then, after my photo was put on the Internet, I suddenly started getting offers of meals and stuff."

George was sitting by the harbour in Kinsale, Co Cork when website founder, Lee Furlong, was out for a walk last Sunday.

He spotted George and, having been moved by the plight of Jonathan Corrie, the homeless man who died in a Dublin doorway near Leinster House on December 1, struck up a conversation.

"We just started chatting and I was really touched when George said that all he wanted for Christmas was a hot meal and a warm bed for the night," Lee said.

The reaction to George's Facebook posting reached such a level that Ballybrack locals spotted the image and brought it to his family's attention.