Sir, – A bin for shelter in a European capital city, following millions spent over the past few years on numerous reports, conferences and strategies (Home News, August 24th & 26th).
Last week you reminded us of the death of Kevin Fitzpatrick at a waste recycling facility in Limerick in 2007 (Weekend Review, August 17th). Kevin was known to us, as you then reported. This week Henryk Piotrowski from Poland, also known to us, died in a bin – a bin full of trash. This happened in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.
For too long now we in Trust have witnessed the plight of so many people from Eastern Europe, like our own people of a generation ago who sought work, shelter and hospitality around the world. The situation is now worse than it was when Trust (a social and health service for people who are homeless) was founded in 1975. The frustration and despair is tangible.
We meet on average people from 15-20 different countries, many of these people have made headlines because of the circumstances of their death. A facility, on the northside of Dublin city, however basic, offered accommodation to people for one week dependent on linking in to services to enable them return home. A letter from Dublin City Council was circulated on July 1st, 2013 to residents advising them that they could no longer stay for more than one night. Since then, they told us they sleep out, ringing the freefone constantly to access a bed – a “waste of time”. City councillors contacted didn’t even know of this facility or its rules.
We should bear in mind that people are entitled to shelter, even if not to social welfare.
The situation will continue while more planning takes place, far removed from suffering human beings. Planners can hide behind spin, satisfied with reports full of statistics (behind each one a human being) – not having to experience the pain, filth and despair.
Planners manage successfully to isolate, ignore and dismiss those who continue to say it as it is. No amount of spin can hide the fact that a young Polish man living in our country sought shelter in a bin in 2013. We should hang our heads in shame. Our thoughts too are with the Panda staff who made the shocking discovery.
– Yours, etc,
Director & Co-Founder
Bride Road, Dublin 8.