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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020
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'Despair when I see how the Government is behaving': Brother Kevin slams Government housing policy

He said the Government should ensure nobody is lying or dying on the streets at Christmas.

Brother Kevin criticised the Government's behaviour.
Brother Kevin criticised the Government's behaviour.
Image: Sam Boal

BROTHER KEVIN, of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, has made a plea to the Government to build more houses and make sure nobody is left lying on the streets over Christmas.

Brother Kevin Crowley and the team at the Capuchin Day Centre provide food for homeless and struggling members of the community in Dublin’s city centre. 

When it first opened 50 years ago, it was helping around 50 people per day. Now, it sees between 300 and 500 people visiting for breakfast, and between 500 and 600 people looking for dinner every day. 

He said it is a lifeline for homeless people and added the current housing crisis was “appalling” and the Government must take action to rectify the issue. 

“I think in this day and age it is absolutely appalling and I appeal to the Government to build more homes,” he said speaking no the Sunday with Miriam programme on RTÉ Radio 1.

That is a huge problem and that is why we have so many unfortunate homeless people, because the Government is not building houses, not building homes. 

“Each person should have their own home, they should have a key to their own door and that’s not being done. Money is being wasted ridiculously otherwise, and [Government is] not putting it where they should be putting it.”

Last year, Pope Francis visited the day centre while on a tour across Ireland. Brother Kevin said Francis agreed that everybody who visits the centre must be treated with “dignity and respect”. 

“The reason why I started it; I saw a number of people who were walking the streets during the day time and having nowhere to go. And I said to myself, we should really do something about this and that’s the reason we started in 1969. 

“We started with around 50 people and now each morning we open our doors between half six and seven, and we’ll have anything from 300 to 350 for breakfast, and we’d have anything from 500 to 600 for dinner and that’s six days a week.

“One of the things that really saddens me, is to see the number of children coming in here everyday and then they’re leaving the centre and going to a hotel for accommodation. 

“I love to see the children coming but it saddens me to think they have to come to a homeless centre for food.

I despair when I think the way the Government is behaving. I don’t want to see anybody lying or dying on the streets coming up to Christmas.

“The other morning a young girl came into the centre at quarter to seven. She had been out all night, she was only 20 years of age. She wasn’t allowed into a hostel because she wasn’t from Dublin and she didn’t come under the catchment area. 

“She slept outside with some foreign national during the night. She said ‘he kept me warm’ and she came in here freezing with the cold. And thank God we were here to help her and to make sure that she had enough to eat. 

“But again, the system is appalling and I hate saying this coming up to Christmas time but we also have fantastic benefactors and only for those, under no circumstances would we be able to keep our lifeline in operation.”

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