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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020
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Homeless charity forced to shut down its Sunday free meals service

Fights broke out and bottles were thrown at ‘The Mendo’ in Dublin’s south inner city.

'The Mendo'
'The Mendo'
Image: http://www.mendicity.org/index.htm

ONE OF DUBLIN’s oldest charities has been forced to suspend its Sunday morning breakfast service – due to a number of violent incidents.

Manager of Mendicity Charles Richards said they would be keeping the decision under review – and that Monday to Saturday services remained unaffected.

“Most of the people who come to us – we would know them, we would know them by name, very often,” Richards said.

People using the service tend to be older Irish men – and groups of non-Irish nationals.

However – on Sunday 19 April, a group of young men arrived at their centre, on Island Street in Dublin 8 “roaring and shouting,” Richards said.

Chaos broke out inside the centre as volunteer staff attempted to quell the situation.

Outside, fights broke out – and bottles were thrown.

It was a shock for our staff, but they just tried to deal with it as best they could.

The men were Irish and aged in their 20s – and none of the staff on duty at the time recognised them, according to Richards.

A few weeks previously, there was another incident – as a man was pursued into the kitchen by a group of men, who were shouting and claiming he was a “rapist,” Richards said.

Once again the situation was dealt with by staff – who managed to clear the kitchen, and carry on with their duties.

In addition to Richards, two paid kitchen staff prepare meals at ‘The Mendo’. Volunteers look after front-of-house, at the centre – serving people ‘no questions asked’.

Upsurge in violence

A number of violent incidents among Dublin’s homeless community have made the headlines in recent weeks.

Merchants Quay day service was forced to close its doors for several days at the start of the month, after a number of attacks on staff.

And two weeks ago, a young volunteer had hot tea thrown in her face, as she attempted to help rough sleepers outside the GPO.

Tony Duffin of the Ana Liffey Drug Project, speaking to TheJournal.ie last week, said there had been a worrying upsurge in violent incidents among Dublin’s rough sleepers since the start of the month.

Duffin said outreach staff at his organisation experienced such peaks intermittently, and spoke of a similar upsurge around two years ago.

Similarly, Richards said there had been problems “for four weeks in a row last March” and noted that there appeared to be “high levels of nervous energy” on the streets of the capital at the moment. 

Note: Mendicity, Dublin’s second oldest charity, was established in 1818. They’re happy to accept donations at their website. 

Read: ‘Hugely worrying’ upsurge in violence among Dublin rough-sleepers

Read: Man set his pit bull on gardaí as they tried to search house for drugs

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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