Tomorrow at the Housing committee meeting in Dublin City Council I will be calling on Fr Peter McVerry to withdraw his name from the process of ‘Freedom of the City’ in solidarity with the homeless of this city and country on the grounds of principal, ethics and morality. Accepting such an award would give an impression that this task of ending homelessness is somewhat complete when nothing could be further from the truth. Many of those agencies who are involved with homeless individuals and families are now in the ‘business’ of merely carrying out Government policy which has done absolutely nothing to address the issues of the many homeless on the streets of our country and the thousands on the city council’s and county council housing waiting lists. Tonight, and throughout the cold winter nights and days, the homeless will be left wandering our streets when the Government and its agents are merely warehousing the problem. Charity is not the solution to homelessness. Homelessness is a political issue that needs to be kept on all the political agendas. It is not the time to be singling out any individual or organization involved in the issues of homelessness for freedom of Dublin city. It is well acknowledged the good work that Peter McVerry has done in saving lives and assisting individuals and we are all very grateful for that but if he was to decline this offer and stand in solidarity with those who find themselves in a hopeless situation that would be greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed and it would send a strong message to those who think to appease the situation, minimize the situation, and exploit the situation with a pseudo gesture like this. This has all the hallmarks of a cynical exercise by an individual politician as we enter into the Christmas season when the poor, the homeless, the disempowered are patronized and further marginalized.
Well said, Mannix.