While much attention has rightly been focused on the Polish president’s inexcusable remarks about gay people, his failure to even mention those of his fellow countrymen who have ended up homeless on our streets is equally depressing.
We have contacted the Polish embassy to ensure it is fully aware of the nature and scale of the problem. Like Irish people in former times who got into difficulties in London and other cities and were happily forgotten by our political establishment, homeless Poles in Ireland seem to have been forgotten by their president, Lech Kaczynski, who seems to be pursuing a similar approach.
We have long argued that people who find themselves homeless on our streets are in a real sense outsiders who cannot fit in, often for serious social, psychological or economic reasons. They need sensitivity and understanding to be helped back into society. We all have a responsibility to respect people’s rights and by so doing create a welcoming community. That is the kind of atmosphere we must encourage if we are to eliminate social exclusion.
President Kaczynski’s remarks represent a fundamental challenge to the notion of a true rights-based society. If he succeeds in even partly realising his vision of the world, more and more people will find themselves outsiders.
ALICE LEAHY, Director & Co-founder, TRUST, Bride Road, Dublin 8.