Hope and homelessness | The Irish Times, January 24th, 2020

Sir, – I wrote to The Irish Times in the 1970s with my then-colleagues Dr David Magee and the late social worker John Long: “The buildings in which these men and women are housed belong to another age. Most of the hostels are running to capacity and they have not the staff to meet the needs of the residents other than providing a roof over their heads. There is much need for half-way houses for people trying to stay off alcohol, for psychiatric patients on discharge, and for young people to provide them with direction and support and so keep them from destroying themselves”.

Our letter said much more, especially about vacant houses in the city centre.

What have we learned over the almost 50 years, I wonder. We have had more reports from experts with vast sums of taxpayers’ money spent on same.

Meanwhile there is a huge number of people suffering, together with a growing number of frustrated workers attempting to meet their needs.

The increasing dependency on corporate-speak to highlight or cover up the real pain and potential lost by fellow human beings in a country of great wealth should be a cause for concern and acknowledged.

The following quote by Ernest Hemingway was brought to my notice recently by a friend as we reflected on these issues in the times we are living in: “Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.” – Yours, etc,



Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.


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.