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Homeless centre gives out a record 2,500 food parcels

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Ireland rugby captain, Paul O'Connell presents a Ireland rugby jersey to Br Kevin Crowley on a visit to the Capuchin Day Centre to help pack Christmas hampers

Ireland rugby captain, Paul O'Connell presents a Ireland rugby jersey to Br Kevin Crowley on a visit to the Capuchin Day Centre to help pack Christmas hampers

Brother Kevin

Brother Kevin

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Ireland rugby captain, Paul O'Connell presents a Ireland rugby jersey to Br Kevin Crowley on a visit to the Capuchin Day Centre to help pack Christmas hampers

Dublin's Capuchin Centre for the homeless gave out 2,500 food parcels this week - the highest number in its 45-year history.

Over three weeks after the tragic death of Jonathan Corrie outside the Dail, homeless people are still struggling for food and accommodation.

The Capuchin centre is under enormous pressure to meet demands and Brother Kevin Crowley, the homeless campaigner who has run the centre since 1969, said they are handing out more weekly parcels than ever.

"Last Wednesday, for the food parcels, we had 2,400 which was huge and I suppose coming up to Christmas was quite a lot," he told the Herald. "I'm still meeting people who are finding it difficult to get beds."

Last night, the figure was even higher at 2,500 and some famous sports names helped to pack up the parcels, which contained items like butter, sugar, teas and pasta.

Irish rugby captain Paul O'Connell led some of his team members in Dublin last night.

Among the pack behind him was coach Joe Schmidt and players Simon Zebo, Jamie Heaslip, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney. They were joined by Dublin GAA star Rory O'Carroll.

The big-hearted sportsmen spent over an hour last night helping pack this week's parcels which will be given out tonight.

Christopher Royal (39), is a regular at the Capuchin Day Centre and depends on the services it provides.

"I'm four years homeless and I get shelter at night, but I need it 24 hours," he said. "I'm out in the morning just rambling the streets and keeping my head above water. Only for Brother Kevin I'd be lost."

BEDS

One man, Martin Sheridan (39), has slept rough on the streets in the last two weeks after waiting in the queue on the emergency phone-line only to be told there were no more beds available.

"I rang and have not got a bed since it (the death of Mr Corrie) happened," Mr Sheridan told the Herald.

Brother Kevin said it remains to be seen if the government's 20-point plan to tackle homelessness will work.

"We have to give this (plan) time to work. We don't expect it to work immediately," said Br Kevin, who will receive the Freedom of the City next February.

Since the death of Mr Corrie, the centre has been flooded with donations. On December 3 alone €61,000 was brought in through carol singing at the GPO. And Dublin Bus, local schools and businesses have all sent in food, clothes, toys and donations during December.

hnews@herald.ie


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