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Dublin: 20°C Thursday 16 September 2021

Brian Cowen will be sleeping rough tonight (but don't worry, it's for charity)

The 12-hour sleep-out is aimed at raising funds to tackle rural homelessness.

Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

DON’T BE TOO concerned if you happen to see former Taoiseach Brian Cowen walking through the streets of Birr with a sleeping bag tucked under his arm later…

The ex-Fianna Fáil leader is taking part in a charity sleep-out in Birr Castle this evening, as part of a Simon Community initiative.

Longford-Westmeath TD Gabrielle McFadden and the Co Offaly town’s Garda Superintendent Martin Cashen are also participating in the 12 hour sleep-out.

“This event will bring together a great mix of society, business leaders, sports personalities and political figures from the Midlands, all coming together to show solidarity and support for those who find themselves homeless in the Midlands,” CEO of Midlands Simon Community Tony O’Riordan said in a statement.

The event is also aimed at raising awareness of rural homelessness, organisers said.

“Many people are unaware that homelessness exists in the Midlands,” according to the Simon press release.

It is not just an urban phenomenon but it also is a rural reality.  Rural homelessness isn’t evident on the streets or in doorways on rural towns and villages; it’s under bridges and ditches, it’s in wheelie bins, derelict houses and abandoned cars.

On the charity’s event page, Cowen outlines three reasons for taking part:

  1. To heighten awareness of rural homelessness in the Midlands region
  2. I am a voluntary board member of the organisation and
  3. Midlands Simon is a very worthy local charity.

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