Saoradh Community Support; Tuesday 13th February
How low can the state go
Saoradh community support had a couple of unexpected visitors to our table on Tuesday. These people identified themselves as being from the Health and safety authority. They informed our volunteers we had been reported. It is obvious to Saoradh community support who would have done this but we are not going to let this deter us from our commitment to our work with people who are homeless and homelessness.
Since the setting up of our service, we have been welcomed into the world of the homeless support community. Our service has been congratulated on our high standards by other groups and by those citizens who are homeless themselves, we have also taken on board constructive criticisms which has improved the level of support we provide. We’re a hard-working voluntary group that provides a good standard of food in the most hygienic way possible, under the circumstances.
This was a point made by the health and safety representatives at our street kitchen. They noted the gloves worn by our volunteers serving food. The containers used to store and keep our food hot. The sandwich bags used to individually pack sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, and loose items. We do this so food is not unnecessarily handled.
Despite this visit being an unwarranted and specifically targeted visit to Saoradh community support, our volunteers used the opportunity to seek advice on possible courses that are out there for groups like us to undertake to improve our standards. However, there is nothing we were not already aware of.
The health and safety representatives expressed their admiration for what we were doing. They agreed that it was strange that despite our high standards we were singled out for this treatment but could not see any problems.
This visit did cause concern to our citizens who are homeless who depend on services such as ours and are more than aware of the lack of compassion from various people in positions of authority in Dublin. One man said “People I knew have died in doorways cold and alone.Yet the authorities are worried about me getting a stomach upset. I don’t think so, they want us moved so tourists don’t see us”. Another citizen who is homeless said “If they are so concerned about our health why am I kicked while asleep in freezing temperatures in a doorway and told move now or we will soak you. I have been urinated on. I have had alcohol spilt over me and I’m a recovering alcoholic. I have been spat at. I have been robbed of my essential items. I have been assaulted. My sleeping bag has been set on fire while I was in it. No one has ever been sent to sort these things out. Yet they are worried about me being served a sandwich of a low standard. This country makes me sick”.
Saoradh community support wants to assure all our citizens who are homeless and those that support us in our task that we will continue to work at the coal-face of the current state-sponsored housing crisis, and Saoradh will always find a way to support the most vulnerable people in our society. We will not be bullied by the petty and cowardly acts of a state trying to hide its shame.
Saoradh Community Support will be at the GPO, Every Tuesday night from 7.30 until 10.30