A HOMELESS Dublin 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, 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 the incredible reaction to George's photograph led to his devoted family being able to get back in touch with him.
George now hopes to spend Christmas with his elderly mother, his two sisters and extended family in his native Ballybrack.
"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 Humans of Ireland website founder, Lee Furlong, was out for a walk last Sunday.
Lee founded the page with a friend in a bid to highlight the people that "often get overlooked".
He spotted George and, having been moved by the plight of Jonathan Corrie, who died in a doorway near Leinster House, Lee walked over.
"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.
"I asked him was it alright for me to take his photo and put it on our web page. He said ok, I took the photo and wished him well.
"It was absolutely amazing - I put the photo up on the Facebook page on Monday morning and within a few hours I was getting comments, private mails and friends contacting me offering everything from hot meals for George to information about support services."
Late on Monday evening, the reaction to George's photo reached such a level that Ballybrack locals spotted the image, recognised George and brought it to his family's attention.
"He couldn't believe that his sister Sheelagh had actually seen his photo on our Facebook page and wanted to make contact about Christmas dinner.
"I think it reinforced for me what Christmas is all about and that talking to another human being, listening to their story, can sometimes have an incredible impact on their lives."
In another story, stone mason Robert Curran (41) revealed on Cork radio station, Red FM, that he had been living in his jeep for a year. Within an hour, Mr Curran had received offers of accommodation, hot meals and a job.