Sir, – The words of Pádraig Ó hUiginn (Letter, December 12th) should be noted by planners of services for people who are homeless.

We in Trust knew well the couple who froze to death, and others too who died in that area. We knew the site where people slept rough before the Defence Forces were called in by Albert Reynolds to set up a shelter. When it was set up we visited regularly to support the staff in their efforts to give care to those who stayed there. It was very well run by the members of the Defence Forces. It was clean, warm, safe and nourishing food was provided. It was subsequently taken over by the Salvation Army and we continued to provide support there.

To suggest setting up such a basic well-run shelter now is considered old-fashioned, as I only too well know. This is happening at a time when sleeping bags can be clearly seen throughout the city. Those in a position to do something cannot accept the fact that there is a real need for basic emergency accommodation and if they cannot accept this fact they need to be asked why.

It is my experience of working in the field of homelessness now for 40 years that if something doesn’t cost a lot of money it is considered to be ineffective.

– Yours, etc,
Director & Co-Founder,
Bride Road, Dublin 8.