‘Why are we walking past people in sleeping bags on the wet ground?’
Deirdre O’Kane on homelessness and the refugee crisis and why enough is enough
Deirdre O’Kane: ‘I can’t watch the refugee crisis for another minute. I can’t pass another homeless person in the street.’
The homelessness and the refugee crisis is why I started Paddy’s Night in support of Comic Relief. I can’t watch the refugee crisis for another minute. I can’t pass another homeless person in the street. It has to stop. End of. We are not a poor society, so why are we walking past people in sleeping bags on the wet ground?
We are not a poor country. If I could get my hands on the banking system . . . I do not understand how they were bailed out by us and they can turf people out of their homes in response. There’s something really missing there. They should not be allowed to put a family out of their home. It’s immoral to its core.
In terms of refugees, Ireland committed to taking a very small number and they didn’t even take the full quota. It’s not enough. Nobody is doing enough. We’ve got counties that are empty. I know there’s an economy issue with that, but let people come in and see what they can do. People want and need to work. They don’t want to be given handouts. People in direct provision not being allowed to cook? That’s jail. That’s prison. We’re saying “yes we’ll give you refuge”, but we won’t even let you make a meal?
On a very basic level, you can support the incredible charities working on combatting these problems and trying to fix them. The money from Comic Relief night, 50 per cent is going to the Irish Community Foundation. Support them. You can’t fix it yourself, but you can support the people who are desperately trying to fix it. Shout about it. Don’t allow the banks to throw people out of their homes. You can be heard. And buy a ticket for Comic Relief. At least that way you’ll get to laugh for two hours straight and help refugees and homeless people.
Paddy’s Night in support of Comic Relief is at the 3Arena in Dublin on Saturday March 17th and features Deirdre O’Kane, Tommy Tiernan, PJ Gallagher, Alison Spittle, David O’Doherty, Joanne McNally, and more. Tickets cost €45. See ticketmaster.ie