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MOD on Monday: Let's solve the homeless crisis without delay ... just not in our back yard

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Jonathan Corrie.

Jonathan Corrie.

Kate Moss.

Kate Moss.

Amanda Byram.

Amanda Byram.

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Jonathan Corrie.

NIMBY - "Not In My Back Yard".

It's an acronym most often used about those who profess to have a general concern for some social issue but, when it is suggested that its resolution might involve some inconvenience to them in their own locality, suddenly start to raise objections.

The issue of homelessness in the capital has reached crisis point, with up to 200 people now sleeping rough on the streets each night, due primarily to a lack of temporary accommodation for them.

And the death of Jonathan Corrie less than a hundred yards from Dail Eireann, seems to have galvanised the country, with a general outcry to deal with the problem, especially during the cold winter months.

shelter

It was a little known fact, however, that back in 2007, Dublin City Council acquired a property in the heart of Georgian Dublin - the former Longfields Hotel on Lower Fitzwilliam Street, just off Merrion Square.

The intention was to converting it into a homeless shelter, with a special licence for alcohol to be served to residents.

It almost defies belief that, seven years later, the building still lies empty, and only in recent months have plans been re-instigated to have the Simon Community taking over the site to run it as an emergency shelter, as their current shelter on Harcourt Street is no longer fit for purpose.

It seems like a simple, and long overdue solution to the issue. So what could be the problem?

Well, the good people of that particular area of Georgian Dublin have fallen foul to a sudden attack of nimbyosis in recent weeks.

Some local business have written to Dublin City council, and complained that "this proposal will neither cherish nor enhance the area. On the contrary, it will drive people, businesses and tourists away ... and could ultimately lead to the deterioration of one of the city's finest historical areas."

One even suggested that it would bring down the tone of the neighbourhood, by reminding the Council of how high rents are.

"It would simply add to the ongoing problems in the area," they raged, "an area that we pay dearly to work in..."

There are, of course, two problems with this attitude. Firstly, it is utterly at odds with the experience of the Simon Community's current shelter on Harcourt Street, from which it is attempting to relocate.

commercial

Harcourt Street itself is just as much a part of Georgian Dublin as Lower Fitzwilliam Street, and far from the hostel there having harmed businesses and driven tourists away, that street is the busiest commercial strip in the city, with a plethora of hotels, bars and nightclubs.

And, in direct contradiction of the small-minded, parochial opinions of the naysayers of the Fitzwilliam Street area, an upmarket new hotel, the Dean, has opened just a few doors up from the current Simon shelter.

Secondly, and just as importantly, it smacks of snobbery, elitism, and reveals the truth behind some of the bleeding heart calls on the homelessness problem.

Sure, house the homeless. Just not in my back yard...

Karma can be a tough mistress, Hef

Playboy Enterprises is suing an Irish website, entertainment.ie, which a year ago published a link to photographs of Kate Moss' naked photoshoot with Playboy magazine a week before the photos appeared in the mag.

It's a classic David and Goliath story. While not wishing to condone breach of copyright, the story has echoes of a similar case a few years ago, when Tiger Woods sued The Dubliner magazine after the latter jokingly published fake topless shots of Tiger's wife, with Tiger winning a six figure sum in damages.

It is worth remembering, however, that karma is an unforgiving mistress and, a couple of years after winning his case, Tiger Woods was exposed as a serial adulterer, which resulted in the breakup of his marriage, the loss of several sponsorship contracts and a loss of form on the golf course, something from which he has never truly recovered.

So Playboy might be best advised to reconsider whether it is worth going all the way with this case, lest an equivalent dose of bad luck befalls them.

After all, wouldn't it be tragic if the organisation's boss, Hugh Hefner, was subsequently exposed as being a sad, dressing-gown wearing, sex-fixated octogenarian with a predilection for women young enough to be his grand-daughters?

Oh, hang on...

Low-profile is not for Amanda

* There's a contradiction about Amanda Byram who, though beautiful, talented and mature, continues to come across as a slightly desperate wannabe.

In her latest interview, she won't reveal the name of her new man as she wants to keep things "low-profile", after years of being in the spotlight. But then, in revealing how she is still associated with her ex, Patrick Kielty, she said: "I bumped into Davina at an event the other night and she mentioned 'oh you went out with Paddy for the longest time'."

The notable part of this quote, of course, is the way in which Byram name-drops Davina McCall, which does nothing to the story except reveal the celebrity circles Amanda moves in.

So good luck with the new relationship Amanda. I have a sneaking suspicion that, if she gets her way, it won't be low-profile for too long.

* Workers throughout Ireland will no doubt be seething with envy when they read the news that Google splashed out €300k on its Christmas office party.

But before you get too jealous of their skating rink, Ferris wheels and endless free food and drink, remember - today, you'll have gone back to your job, which probably gives you a degree of personal fulfilment.

Google staff, on the other hand, will return to their offices, to flog ads on the internet for 40 hours a week. Still jealous?


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