The plight of the homeless in Ireland.
What is a day in the life of people living in Ireland today? If we’re lucky we awake to the stress of travelling to work, breakfast and getting the children ready for school. What of those who do not have this luck?
“Last night my phone was stolen, together with my shoes and my unclean shirt. Today I sit crying, lonely, the music in my phone is gone. There is no longer the option to escape through those sounds to a place where this life is forgotten.
On cold nights, I phone the council help line seeking a warm place to stay. I realise that in so seeking it is only physical warmth that may be my right. Expect no compassion, the staff are tired, some mean but mostly tired. Expect no cleanliness, the budget for these places it appears does not extend to removing the urine stained and smelling sheets from the weeks of use. When I’m informed that without the €4.50 with me there will be no place, I know then that I would rather sleep rough, for that pittance will buy danger, dirt and stolen things. My new boots, the donated phone, another old shirt will be stuffed into my pillow. While laying there awake, insomnia brought on by the shouting of drug users and alcoholics in loud debate about the merits and rights that they have lost. With a fight there is the removal of the loudest but not the worst. Another man has a heart attack in the next bed. This with the smell of stale urine from the sheets on which I lie has me lie awake awaiting the next day and my forced exit with warm porridge and a half cooked egg, if I’m lucky.
It is then that I begin again the seeking of that same €4.50 for the next tortuous night. My tooth aches. The dentist caring for those of us homeless examines me and says that I need a root canal treatment to the affected molar. This he says will cost 250. I look at him and say that’s fine, I’ve got €3.25. He looks at me with heavy eyes admitting the irony and proceeds with his assistant to remove the mountain in my mouth. Like a volcano removing a mountain there remains after the forty minutes violent struggle a gaping hole. It pains me for days.
If you’re listening I won’t stop talking for it is so seldom that anyone pays attention.”
These are not my sentiments nor my words, patiently listened to over a coffee with a well spoken man who finds himself in this lonely planet. Not the loneliness of holidays travelling but it seems more expensive, not only in money terms but in the sacrifice of dignity.
Like those few that I knew who worked alone their talks molested those listening like the shout of loneliness. I know that this scream from the homeless is not the want to be heard or listened to but to be respected. The tired abuse from the help line and the disregard offered in stained sheets both combine to create a feeling of being unwanted. The valueless feeling some believe true, but the truth is we are all born naked and in need, the same and equal!
As if the pain were not enough, each hostel place is subsidised by the state, that is in addition to the €4.50 sought. I’m informed that the state pays €35 per bed space per night. There are hotels in Dublin that charge less than the €39.50 for bed spaces, with en-suite showers and full hot breakfasts included. Holiday hostels are cheaper again. How can the dire level of accommodation offered to these vulnerable people be so expensive?
Lee Halpin dies trying to expose the pain and danger of this life.
via Boots in my pillow!.
Older people are suffering the ill effects of the cutbacks and they stand in solidarity with their children & grandchildren who are also suffering.
This is why the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament will proudly march alongside trade unions and other community groups before Budget 2013 on Saturday next to say “No to Austerity”. We are asking all our members around the country to walk alongside us with dignity & respect to show the Coalition government that we have had enough of the recession, enough of the cuts to income and enough of the threats to the travel pass. The last Budget saw a vicious cut to the means tested fuel allowance thus increasing fuel poverty.
So walk alongside us … but wrap up warm with good shoes and scarves and gloves. This time however we want you to wear different shades of grey to symbolise the many hits we’ve taken. But we are not without hope – wear a sprig of green as well to show that we still have hope. And what about some “Greys in Shades” – wear some sunglasses as well.
Lastly what about some placards? We’ll have some but we encourage you to make your own & bring them with you. Your own words are always best but here are some possible slogans you could have on your placards:
We’ve paid for our Pensions
For a proper health service
Keep Older People Warm & Mobile
Fair Pensions for all
For dignity & respect
For a better, fairer old age
A Fairer Ireland for Older People
HITS – Health, Income, Travel, Security
Hit the bankers – Not the pensioners
Bash Bankers – Not Pensioners
We all stand together
Hands off our Pensions
We’ve paid for our pass
No more austerity
Enough is Enough
No more cuts
We’re all in it together
Why not just shoot us?
Never too old to suffer
No Country for Old Men … or Old Women
March is to be held on the 27th Nov
I really want to win the lotto, buy a bomb and a box of matches, and then emigrate with the rest of the Irish!
The biggest problem in Ireland today, is that nobody wants to take responsibility for anything…………………
But don’t quote me on that!