Actress Pauline's shock and concern at our level of homelessness
Sligo born actress, Pauline McLynn says she is shocked by the country's homelessness crisis.
"I am really concerned - and shocked - by the awful crisis of homelessness in our country.
"It's heart-breaking to see how this crisis has escalated with so many families being forced into homelessness by spiralling rents or by an unexpected life event such as ill health, relationship breakdown or financial difficulties."
A star of legendary comedy, Father Ted, Pauline has teamed up with Focus Ireland to back a fundraising venture for the homeless charity.
The Great Get Together takes place on the May Bank Holiday weekend and is the second year of the event which sees people host a series of gatherings.
"I think our society has always been a caring nation and I believe people will respond wholeheartedly to this fantastic idea, and host great get togethers nationwide," said Pauline.
To register an event, visit www.focusireland.ie to download a host pack.
Movie Nights, tea parties, sing-songs, children's events, yoga sessions, hikes, dinner gatherings, day trips, BBQ's, sports club events, picnics, coffee mornings and book clubs are just some of the ideas to be found on www.focusireland.ie .
Focus Ireland said they need support more than ever as a record total of nearly 10,000 people are homeless in Ireland.
Nearly 4,000 of them are children (in 1,614 families)
These children are often living with their families in one room in emergency accommodation such as hotels or homeless hubs. They do not have their own bedroom or somewhere safe to play and families often have nowhere to cook. Focus Ireland research has shown that even a short time being homeless can have a very damaging impact on a child. The charity works through its specialist family and child support services to help protect children every day from the impact of homelessness.
Pauline added:; "I absolutely love gatherings of friends and family - it's an important ritual in all our busy schedules to bring people together to chat and have a bit of fun.
"The strength of Ireland's Great Get Together is that, while you're having fun and connecting you can also make a powerful contribution against homelessness."