All-Star visit for Dublin homeless service

Capuchin centre volunteer Rory O’Carroll joined by All-Ireland winning team-mates

It was the turn of the Capuchin Day Centre homeless service to join in the celebrations over Dublin winning the All-Ireland football championship when Rory O'Carroll, a member of the winning team and a regular volunteer at the centre, arrived with the Sam Maguire Cup yesterday.

The full-back was joined by several other football stars past and present. Footballer of the year nominee Bernard Brogan, brother Alan Brogan, Paddy Cullen and Jimmy Keaveney came to talk to people having lunch in the centre.

A long line started to grow outside the centre canteen well before lunch, but according to the centre's founder, Brother Kevin Crowley, such queues are typical of a Thursday, even without distinguished visitors.

“We feed around 800 people a day, but today is a very special day with the cup coming in. There’s going to be great joy and great excitement. It shows their concern and the respect they have for the homeless people,” said Brother Kevin, who opened the kitchen in 1969.


Lively debate

While most of those present waved their blue flags and sang along to the chorus of

Molly Malone

, a few were keen to dispel any notions the reigning champions would have it all their own way in future years.

“There’s a few lads giving us a bit of slagging saying [Kerry] are on the way back, but we’re enjoying the cup while we have it. It’s hard to get your hands on it,” said Bernard Brogan.

“It’s something that goes unnoticed and the work that Brother Kevin and the volunteers do is invaluable to the city.”

A full-time social worker in his professional life, O’Carroll was happy to oblige as people thronged around the visitors for photographs and autographs. Although happy to be back in familiar surroundings, he was keen to highlight the continued struggle faced by Brother Kevin and others for sufficient resources to deal with Ireland’s homeless crisis.

“When you’ve got increasing numbers [of homeless] with the same amount of resources there’s going to be more demand and less supply of the resources, so it’s obviously going to lead to further issues.

Hostel shortage

“A lot of lads wouldn’t go into hostels because they’d be afraid. They’d nearly prefer to sleep rough, and the quality of the hostels wouldn’t be up to a lot of people’s standards. The good hostels are very hard to get into, so it is a massive problem.”

Brother Kevin said this week’s budget did not go far enough in addressing the issue.

He urged residents of Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines to find a compromise with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council over emergency housing for survivors of last weekend's halting site fire in which 10 Travellers died.