According to the well-known traditional Irish ballad, ‘Dublin Saunter,’ (made famous by actor Noel Purcell), ‘Grafton Street’s a wonderland, there’s magic in the air;’ well folks, it’s not if you’re five years old, homeless and hungry. Don’t believe me? Just ask ‘Sam’ (not his real name), the innocent little five-year-old boy whose picture, taken as he sat on the cold concrete eating a dinner of carbonara off a sheet of cardboard, went viral last week.
The image has sparked outrage, and rightly so. ‘Sam’s’ plight was brought to light when himself and his mammy sought the help of volunteers working with the Homeless Street Café charity on Dublin’s Grafton Street. Indeed, a volunteer who helped the family, was so upset they posted the image on social media, describing the scene as being ‘burned’ into their minds.
Well I know how they feel, because, both as a mother, and as a human being, the situation has had an awful affect on me. In fact, I want to know how Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD, would feel if his own family were forced into such a desperate situation on what is ironically, one of our capital’s most upmarket thoroughfares, known for boasting a who’s who of designer shops and posh-nosh eateries?
In addition, having viewed ‘Sam’s’ picture and hearing how his, and other families whose lives have, through no fault of their own, suddenly imploded, I quickly realised that myself and hubby, (like many other renters and homeowners living in Roscommon), are possibly in a similar situation. Indeed, as I digested ‘Sam’s’ story, the child’s parents’ predicament gave me a clear snapshot of the ever-changing landscape of Ireland’s homeless, highlighting for me what is a worrying phenomenon that charities are trying hard to highlight. It seems that this mother and her child are no different to people like you and me. They’re ordinary folk whom, before becoming homeless, were living ordinary lives. They’re not the so-called stereotypical homeless, rather they’re what is called ‘the new homeless,’ which I assume means they’re not experiencing a mental illness, nor are they substance abusers or criminals, etc. (Now I’m not generalising here, nor am I laying blame on anyone who is vulnerable or unfortunate enough to become homeless through substance abuse or mental illness, etc., I’m simply using these scenarios as a regrettable comparison). Indeed I have enormous compassion for anyone who is experiencing difficulties of any kind.
In fact, looking at my own situation, I realised that, like some of my readers, I too am possibly at risk of becoming homeless. I hope not…but I once had a big, beautiful showhouse of a home in Dublin. However, due to a painful marriage breakdown, (and yes, I know I was the one who walked out), in order to preserve my sanity and secure my freedom, I signed over my sanctuary to my ex. By doing that, I precariously placed myself in the distressing position of being so close to the edge of the homeless whirlpool, I became – like many renters – dangerously close to getting sucked in and drowning.
It’s time Eoghan Murphy, (a man who appears to be so self-obsessed he should probably be cautioned for stalking himself), gets his perfectly quaffed head out of his backside and does his job! And if he can’t, then he should resign due to what I’d deem to be his clear and disgraceful dereliction of duty.
Readers, it’s up to you what political party you support, but when small children are forced to sit on cold concrete to eat their meals, when people who are in full-time unemployment can’t get access to mortgages, and when rents are rising to an unmanageable level, it’s time to re-think our voting preferences. Indeed, I’d say that Eoghan and his Department’s only real talent lies in their use of deceptively flowery language, used to circumvent the fact that his so-called efforts have proved highly ineffectual when it comes to tackling our country’s homeless and poverty crises.
Indeed, given his blurb, which states his ‘responsibility is to provide the framework and the practical supports needed to build a society that enables our people to live fulfilling lives, in a safe, sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner,’ I’d go so far as to say Eoghan doesn’t understand his own brief. Perhaps it’s not his fault; perhaps he’s in way over his bouncy blow-dry…who knows? One thing’s for sure though, Eoghan’s – and this government’s – obvious failure and blatant ineptitude should be suitably recognised and rewarded in the same way any boss would react to an employee’s non-performance…with their P45 and the sack!
Is the Dáil the place where truth, honesty and ethics go to die?
The scandalous revelations regarding the admission that Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins voted on behalf of fellow TD Timmy Dooley six times in the Dáil last Thursday – while the latter was absent from the chamber – certainly paints a depressing and worrying picture of some of our country’s public representatives.
Indeed, since the Dooley-Collins vote-gate disclosure, (described as a ‘misunderstanding’ – yeah, right) – it has transpired that a second Fianna Fáil frontbencher, Lisa Chambers (FF’s spokesperson on Brexit), has also admitted to ‘mistakenly’ voting for colleague Dara Calleary. This ‘mistake’ apparently occurred when Lisa ‘sat in Dara Calleary’s seat’, which is ‘beside my seat’. Seriously? I mean if our TDs are so befuddled they can’t differentiate between which seat is which, how can we charge them with leading and protecting our country?
This is a very serious issue we have here. The Dáil is the very place where our country’s legislation is created, amended and confirmed, and I for one would expect that all voting carried out would be above board. Yet now, given this, (I was going to be nice and say discrepancy), but you all know I don’t mince my words, so I’ll call it what it is... betrayal, I want to ask two questions – 1: Can we trust our public representatives? 2: Is our Dáil the place where truth, honesty and ethics go to die?
One thing’s for sure, I’ll bet these ’mistakes’ and ‘misunderstandings’ will cost FF dearly on the doorsteps, especially as they now provide the opposition with a golden opportunity to sling plenty of muck their way in the run-up to the General Election.