Homelessness champion Alice Leahy said a cheque for €33,000 raised by gardaí through the sale of a commemorative book will be of “enormous” benefit to her organisation.
She said all the money would go straight into the services provided at the Alice Leahy Trust, which include medical assistance, washing facilities, and clothing for homeless people, most of them rough sleepers.
The money has been raised through the sale of Pearse Street 100, a 180-page coffee-table book chronicling the centenary of Pearse Street Garda Station, Dublin.
The idea was the brainchild of Superintendent Joe Gannon, district commander of Pearse Street station, and the book was researched and edited by Garda Stephen Moore.
We are a small organisation, we don’t ask for money, and get no State funding,” said Ms Leahy, who has worked with the homeless for 40 years. “€33,000 is an enormous amount for us and will go directly towards our services, and particularly that it’s coming from the Gardaí, and Supt Gannon came up with the idea, makes it extra special.
She called for a previous student garda placement scheme, which she ran in the trust before the embargo on recruitment, to be resurrected.
Ms Leahy said such schemes enable gardaí to “meet people on the street”, understand what their lives are like and the “hugely complex needs” that they have.
“I am very anxious that that would happen again,” said Ms Leahy, who recently won a human rights award at UCC.
Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, who attended the handover of the cheque, said the book was a great initiative by gardaí in the Dublin South Central division.
It demonstrates once again the concern Garda members have in protecting and supporting vulnerable people,” he said.
Chief Superintendent Lorraine Wheatley said: “For four decades Alice Leahy has provided invaluable assistance, care, and kindness to some of the most vulnerable people in our community in Dublin city. Gardaí in Dublin South Central are proud of our long association with the trust.”