Actor Gerard Byrne, better known as ‘Malachy’ from Fair City, today launched an initiative by TRUST and the public library service, with the support of the Library Council, to help promote better understanding of the needs of the outsiders in our midst, especially those who are homeless. The initiative aims to make a special DVD available to the public, in which Gerard also features, through all of the country’s public libraries entitled Building Trust in the Community and Alice Leahy, Director and Co-Founder of TRUST said “we have been very heartened by the encouragement and support we have received for this initiative from librarians and library staff in all parts of the county, especially as they represent as a very unique network that reaches into every community, town and village.”

Pointing out that this is not just about looking at a DVD Alice Leahy said that the aim was to encourage people to borrow it from the library and watch it with others – family, friends, work colleagues or in a voluntary/community group – and to discuss the issues raised so that everyone would have the opportunity to challenge perceptions and enhance understanding of what it means to be an outsider. “Changing attitudes is as important as getting the government to make resources available if we are serious about creating really inclusive communities where no one is excluded,” Alice Leahy said.

Building Trust in the Community is a national project created by TRUST, in association with The Irish Times and is co-sponsored by ESB Electric Aid, and was described by Alice Leahy as a very ambitious national project to give people the chance to help “to change attitudes towards those who are homeless, and to make those who are excluded and outsiders in Irish society feel wanted”. The aim of the project she said was also to build on the considerable work already going on in many communities across Ireland by people who make time for those who are excluded.

TRUST has also made available on its web site additional resources as part of the project and can be accessed on:

Commenting on behalf of the Library Council, Director Norma McDermott said: “Public Libraries have always had a mission to providing a space for all, and library management and staff are committed to providing a welcoming and quality service to everyone in the community. We are delighted to join with TRUST in this project and thank library staff around the country for their support.”