Friday, December 23, 2016

Queues for food parcels ‘absolutely disgraceful’

Brother Kevin Crowley at the  Capuchin Centre in Dublin where some 3,000 food parcels were distributed on Thursday. Photograph Nick Bradshaw.A man who helped to distribute more than 3,000 Christmas food parcels to people in Dublin on Thursday has warned that the city’s poorest are going to get poorer.

Capuchin Brother Kevin Crowley urged the Government to do something to help those who are struggling and to get the homeless off the streets for good rather than just for Christmas.

He was speaking after thousands of people queued for hours at the Capuchin Centre on Bow Street to collect Christmas food parcels. The food parcels contain basic necessities along with some extras such as sweets for Christmas.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that in 2016 we are still having people queuing for food, that was to be expected in 1916,” Brother Crowley told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It is appalling to see families come here for a food parcel and then go back to a hotel.”

He said a child had asked him if Santa would know where he was for Christmas because he and his family were living in a hotel.

Brother Crowley added that the annual running costs for the Capuchin Centre which provides food parcels every Wednesday were €3.3million with €450,000 of this coming from the Government.

He said he admired what activists from the Home Sweet Home group, who took charge of the vacant Apollo House office building in Dublin 2 with a view to offering accommodation to the homeless, were doing. 

The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the building could continue operating as a homeless shelter until noon on January 11th, as long as there was no more than 40 people staying there each night and the receivers, Mazars, could access the building.

“It is getting worse because people are living in poorer conditions and are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet...The situation is going to get worse. The poorest will get poorer,” Brother Kevin added.

Each person who queued for a parcel on Thursday had a ticket entitling them to two blue plastic bags of food – one of non-perishables including tea, sugar, cereals, tinned fish, tinned beans, custard, chocolates and biscuits, and one of such perishables as milk, cheese, a chicken and butter.

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