Chairman and Trustees Warmly Welcome Alice Leahy’s Appointment to Human Rights Commission

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of TRUST, Professor JAMES McCORMICK has warmly welcomed Alice Leahy’s appointment to the Irish Human Rights Commission as recognition of many years of determination and commitment in defending the rights of the most marginalised in Irish society especially those who are homeless on the street.

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHCR) is an independent statutory body, established by the government, to promote and protect human rights in Ireland. The IHRC works closely with the Human Rights Commission in Northern Ireland and they were both established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

“As Director and Co-Founder of TRUST over many years Alice has shown the kind of dedication that is essential to make a difference for the outsider. Speaking on behalf of all of our Trustees I can state with confidence that as a Human Rights Commissioner with such extensive knowledge and experience she will have some impact in this position. Indeed, at a time when TRUST has already become involved in advocating human rights based approaches through our Education and Awareness Programme which Alice also manages, the timing of this appointment is especially welcome as it represents a logical extension of her work here in TRUST,” Professor JAMES McCORMICK said.

Alice Leahy thanked the Chairman and Trustees for their congratulations and support and said she is looking forward to working with the other members of the Human Rights Commission especially in raising the profile of human rights in the homeless, health and social services.

“All of the health and social services must become more people centred or nothing will change. While that might sound simplistic and over idealistic it means nothing less than ensuring that the rights of all, including those who are outsiders and have no voice, are fully respected. And we have a means of making that happen by ensuring all of the services adopt human rights based approaches in their work. I look forward through my work as a Human Rights Commissioner in advancing that ambitious agenda,” ALICE LEAHY said.

TRUST Makes Submission to Dublin’s Lord Mayor for the Provision of Public Shower Facilities

The following is the full text of a special submission made by Alice Leahy, Director & Co-Founder of TRUST to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Vincent Jackson, on Tuesday, July 25, 2006.

Introduction

There has been a substantial increase in the numbers who are homeless on the streets of Dublin over the last several months. This significant growth is mainly accounted for by people coming from the EU Accession States seeking to make a better life for themselves in Ireland and who may get into difficulties before being able to find a job. TRUST has become aware of Dublin’s new homeless through the very substantial increase in the numbers seeking to use our services. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this trend is that many of these people do not feature in our official statistics as they are not registered with any organisation. Hence, in making this proposal we are unable to quote reliable statistics except to assert that the often cited official figures are clearly out of date and do not reflect the position on the ground. However, we can assert with considerable confidence, given our personal experience, that the need for public shower facilities is urgent as it may actually help in preventing people from becoming homeless by making it easier for them to overcome their often temporary difficulties. This also applies to the many who find themselves in overcrowded accommodation with little or no facilities, a seriously growing problem as well with the very high cost of accommodation in Dublin – and one that effects both existing and newly arrived citizens in Ireland’s rapidly growing capital city.

Public Shower Facilities for All

To avoid stigmatising people who are homeless or poor we believe public shower facilities should be made available to all. We also believe that with our rapidly changing and much higher pressure lifestyles as well as more long distance commuting such facilities will generate real demand amongst the wider community if they are presented in an attractive way, well run and made very secure for all users.

Type of Service
Access to the showers would be made available for 30 (???) minutes at a fixed fee. Soap and towels will also be provided. Those who cannot afford the service can be provided with vouchers at various locations and through designated people such as community welfare officers, etc.

Potential Users – Scale of Demand
Our motivation in making this proposal is to help in not only meeting the needs for very basic services for society’s most marginalised but also to help prevent those who find themselves in temporary difficulties becoming homeless of whom some newly arrived immigrants are the most vulnerable. However, the extent of the potential demand is quite interesting given the poor quality of services in some hostels and emergency B&B accommodation. The following represents a representative sample only:

Newly arrived immigrants who find themselves homeless when, for example, their money runs out.
People living in overcrowded accommodation with poor washing facilities.
Residents of hostels and emergency B&B accommodation with poor washing facilities.
Elderly people afraid to use baths at home with no one around in case they get into difficulties. (Showers are safer but often they cannot afford to install them even with available grants or find the paper work too much etc.)
Long distance commuters who find themselves away from home for excessively long period and are in no position to rush home to have a shower.
Tourists visiting the city after they check out of their hotels/B&Bs etc early in the day when they perhaps may not be leaving the city until late at night.
Backpackers.
Visitors to Dublin not staying over night.
While it is difficult to predict anticipated demand it is important to stress that there is no competition at the moment and with effective marketing and the provision of a quality service we are confident this venture could become a signature facility for the city of Dublin.

Service Provider of Public Showers
We recommend that Dublin City Council should undertake to provide this service in Dublin. This facility represents an extremely cost effective option compared to the immediate provision of proper shower facilities in all of the city’s hostels, emergency B&Bs etc that currently do not have such facilities. (This is not to imply that all such services provide substandard facilities.)

Furthermore, given that a public shower facility could make a real contribution in helping to prevent those in temporary difficulties falling into more long term homelessness, the potential savings to the taxpayer could also be very significant under that heading.

We acknowledge that the lack of reliable statistics make a proper feasible study under the latter heading difficult, but given the widespread potential demand on the part of other identified users this facility has the potential to make a real and immediate difference in the lives of many people.

Conclusion – An Urgent Priority
On a daily basis we can see the urgent human need for public shower facilities in Dublin. The fact that many could be helped to avoid the risk of falling into long-term homelessness we believe should be sufficient justification for this service. However given the scale of the potential demand we are confident it offers the potential to become a signature facility for the city of Dublin and for that reason we should seek to develop the most attractive service possible – an approach that will also help to ensure it becomes self sustaining in the long-term.

ALICE LEAHY
Director & Co-Founder
TRUST

Minister for Education Launches TRUST National Training Seminar Programme for Frontline Personnel

Alice Leahy with the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin T.D. (Centre) and Norma McDermott, Director of the Library Council, the first organisation that will participate in the TRUST training programme.

The Minister for Education Mary Hanafin T.D. today (Tuesday, 18 July, 2006) launched a special initiative by TRUST to help personnel who come into contact on a daily basis with those who find themselves outsiders in Irish society. Devised as part of TRUST’s national awareness project ‘Building Trust in the Community’ it is a National Training Seminar Programme which aims to help people from the local librarian to a member of the Gardai to better assist those at risk and with whom they may come into contact everyday.

ALICE LEAHY in welcoming the Library Council as the first organisation to host a seminar under this programme said that it was highly appropriate as library staff in all of the country’s public libraries have often been at the forefront in making space and providing a welcome for the outsider.

“We are well aware of the wonderful work many frontline personnel are doing in many different areas. However, we are equally well aware that a little sensitivity and a thoughtful intervention at a critical moment by someone in a position to make a difference could for example even prevent someone becoming homeless,” ALICE LEAHY, Director and Co-Founder of TRUST said describing this latest initiative as an attempt to respond to the many requests from people in many of the front line services about how they can do more especially for those who are homeless on the street.

This initiative also marks the final phase of the national project “Building Trust in the Community” which was initially very much geared towards the general public and involved the distribution of a DVD, copies of which have now also been made available throughout the public library network.

“In this final stage we are seeking to respond to the many people in frontline jobs who are in a position and want to make a difference for the outsider. We have been very heartened by the response and are especially delighted that the first Training Seminar will be organised for people working in our public libraries who have already proved highly supportive,” ALICE LEAHY said.

Norma McDermott, Director of the Library Council said:
“We are delighted to work with TRUST in supporting this project as we are responding to the real awareness and interest amongst local authority library staff in all public libraries who are committed to making their libraries very welcoming places for everyone”.

TRUST National Training Seminar Programme

TRUST first began hosting seminars for Social Workers, Gardai, Prison Officers and others in front line positions that come into contact with people who are homeless a number of years ago. However, given the response to ‘Building Trust in the Community’ it was decided to develop a new version of the Seminar Programme as people who come into contact with those who society has deemed outsiders wanted something more professionally orientated as many were in a position to make helpful interventions to assist those at risk but were often afraid to do so. Indeed, often just basic information about services available and who to contact could sometimes prove decisive in helping to prevent someone from becoming homeless.

“This project initiative could prove highly successful and make a very big difference in the lives of many people if more of those in a position to help others are just given the requisite knowledge and are encouraged to use it,” ALICE LEAHY said.

Golf Classic in Tipperary Co-Founded by the late Frank Purcell for TRUST Renamed in his Memory – August 17th & 18th, 2006

Frank Purcell Memorial Golf Classic in Aid of Trust –Alice Leahy thanks Vincent ‘Jasper’ Murphy and friends for carrying on Classic in Frank’s memory

Frank Purcell, a leading supporter of TRUST passed away suddenly this year and Alice Leahy, Director and Co-Founder, said he would be missed not just for his loyalty and commitment but as a good friend as well.

Warmly welcoming the decision of his friends to carry on the Golf Classic in aid of TRUST, which he co-founded with Vincent ‘Jasper’ Murphy, Alice said: “I am really delighted that Frank’s memory will be honored by naming the Golf Classic after him. He never sought publicity or recognition of any kind but was always unstinting in his efforts and commitment on behalf of TRUST. A true gentleman in the very best sense of that word and I am very grateful to Jasper and his friends for ensuring that his great work for us will be acknowledged in this way thanks to their continuing support.”

The Frank Purcell Memorial Golf Classic will will take place at Slievenamon Golf Course on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th of August.

Vincent ‘Jasper’ Murphy, Co-Founder of the Golf Classic said: “The Classic was Frank’s brainchild and we could think of no better way of carrying on his memory than calling the event after him. We are hoping to make this year’s event really special as I know his many friends will welcome the opportunity to remember him in a way that I think he would have liked very much.”

The Classic has raised 50,000 euro since its inception in 2003. This year, the event is being organized by co founder Vincent Murphy with Chris Coen, John Leahy, Vincent Woodlock and Brendan Kenny. RTE personality Peter Collins, a personal friend of Frank’s, who has acted as MC at the event since the beginning, has pledged to continue his work with the Classic.

Teams cost 200 euro and Tee Boxes are 50 euro.
For Further Information Contact Vincent on 086-8119625 or Brendan on 052-32213 or any of the organisers.