Luas barriers on Dublin's Dawson Street are having a disastrous effect on the annual Black Santa Christmas charity appeal, according to the vicar of St Ann's Church.
Canon David Gillespie told The Irish Times on Tuesday that "we are out on the street almost a week now and the monies collected are down by as much as 50 per cent. To date, we have collected just over €10,000, which is less than half where we would normally be at this stage."
He said it was “most discouraging that, despite contact with the office of the Transport Minister, and a personal appeal from the Archbishop of Dublin, the barriers outside the church remain in place. We have done our level best, but, unfortunately, the reduced footfall in Dawson Street is, as I predicted, hitting us very badly.”
Canon Gillespie says he was assured in October by relevant authorities the barriers would be removed in time for the appeal. “I cannot help but feel we have been very badly let down,” he said.
He said he felt “bitterly disappointed that our efforts and our concern have been met with such indifference”.
The Black Santa appeal has taken place at St Ann’s annually for the past 15 years. He said it was “disappointing and annoying, to put it mildly” that “despite repeatedly drawing attention to the situation, the barriers remain in place”.