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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Coats left on Ha'penny Bridge for homeless removed by DCC for 'health and safety' reasons

The council said that the coats would be “redistributed” through its homeless services.

File photo - Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge
File photo - Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge
Image: Shutterstock/Tupungato

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has asked the public not to hang clothes on the Ha’penny Bridge after a number of coats left on the bridge for the homeless were removed for “health and safety” reasons.

In recent days, members of the public have been hanging coats on the bridge for the homeless, under an initiative set up called #warmforwinter. 

A sign placed beside the coats read: “If you need one then please take one… If you want to help, please hang one up.”

However, in a statement, Dublin City Council confirmed that it had removed the coats and jackets hung on the bridge by members of the public. 

The council said the decision was made “based on health and safety concerns, in order to avoid obstruction and congestions occurring along a key pedestrian artery, crossing the River Liffey”. 

“It is the city council’s duty to protect the public and prevent accidents from occurring on this footbridge, through any restrictions in pedestrian flow, particularly at this time of year when thousands of people use this bridge on a daily basis,” the council said. 

The removed items of the clothing will be redistributed through the council’s homeless services, it said. 

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) issued a statement questioning where the coats would be donated to after a video circulated on social media of them being removed. 

“We would ask questions as to who in DCC authorised these jackets to be removed and where they have been removed to,” ICHH head of communications Brian McLoughlin said. 

“The campaign captured the attention of people and highlighted the need for supports for people that are homeless,” he said. 

“We would ask DCC to clarify why the jackets were removed and were they donated to a homeless charity or did they simply get rid of them.” 

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In its statement, Dublin City Council said it “recognises the well intentioned call to action, to which the public responded”. 

It noted that “with mixed weather conditions expected over the coming days” that it is likely the coats left out “could become damp, rendering them unsuitable for use by anyone”. 

“Dublin City Council is very open to coming to an alternative arrangement, recognising the spirit of giving and generosity at this time of year,” the council said. 

“Dublin City Council will work closely, through our existing channels and resources, to determine the best course of action in assisting with this initiative.” 

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