Article by Mick Clifford, Irish Examiner, Saturday 11th July 2020

In one strand of Greek philosophy, a person is not fully dead until burial. By that standard, Stephen Corrigan was caught between life and death for the nine years he lay in a bush a few metres from a busy thoroughfare, writes Michael Clifford…

You can read the full article here:

Public conveniences | The Irish Times, December 31st, 2019

Sir, – “Dublin City Council hasn’t spent a penny on public toilets” (Olivia Kelly, News, December 30th).

Surprise, surprise. In July 2006, we made a submission to Dublin City Council for public showers. We resubmitted that same submission to all city councillors in 2014. Since 2006, your paper has published our many letters highlighting the need for this facility. In November 2018, The Irish Times published a supplement, “Capital Ideas – 10 ideas for improving Dublin’s infrastructure, economy and daily life”, which included a submission from me on the need for public showers and toilets. It also included an example from your journalist Catherine Cleary of how Paris deals with this issue.

Once again, we are highlighting the need for something as basic as public toilets. This is at a time when the council is discussing spending large sums of money on white-water rafting. It must be clear to anyone with common sense that public toilets should be available for men and women to use in our very busy capital city. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

The Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.

Garda centenary book raises €33k for homeless charity | Irish Examiner 25th September 2018

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.”

Bureaucracy dehumanises | Irish Examiner 12th July 2018

Like your columnist, Michael Clifford, I listened to ‘Noah’ on the radio show, Liveline, recently. Clifford’s (Irish Examiner, July 7) article should be widely read in the area of public service delivery and the NGO sector. The red tape and bureaucracy blocking access to services is breath-taking. This labelling of people, and the use of the language of consumerism, is widespread and clearly linked to funding.

Agencies that get grant aid and State agencies use the same language. This further alienates people and service providers can be lulled into thinking they have done something. We all need to be aware of the use of language and to understand its power and effect on vulnerable people. Many people charged with delivery of service see no other way of doing things. This is what they have been taught to ensure boxes are ticked. Regularly, I answer the phone to be informed that the caller has a ‘client’. You have a ‘person’, I say. Then follows a long silence, before attempts to point out that the ‘client’ is a ‘person’, a human being in need of a service. This issue needs to be addressed urgently to ensure that people are not denied a service.

Alice Leahy Director of Services Alice Leahy Trust Bride Road Dublin 8