Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day

I didn't find out until late last night that yesterday, October 15th, was Blog Action Day 2008. The aim is that bloggers everywhere will discuss poverty in some way. By all posting on the same day, it is hoped to highlight the topic through the sheer level of conversation and to increase awareness, and ultimately, hopefully, bring about some change.

Ireland has a long track record in contributing charity to 3rd world countries through agencies such as TrĂ³caire and Goal. We also weighed in following the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster with charities such as Chernobyl Children's Project International.

I think that Irish people are fantastically generous and willing to open their hearts and purses to others.
However, and this may sound controversial, I think that we are quick to ignore the poverty that exists in our own society. People possibly enjoy the rush and sense of self-satisfaction that they get from adopting a child in Africa but are quick to dismiss the drunk on the street as a "waster". We fail to realise that it is all too easy to end up in such a state. Read the stories of people who've ended up on the street. It's not uncommon for middle-class men to lose their families and homes and find themselves with nowhere to go.

Take the recent story of Tony Paget, a homeless man
who saved the life of a Dublin Bus Eireann driver, whose bus went into the Liffey through the wall at Butt Bridge. Tony, who is 26, was later presented with an Irish Water Safety award. After helping to save the driver and also after the award, Tony returned to the streets.

Official government figures are based on the last Housing Needs Assessment, undertaken in 2005. This shows that 2,399 households were categorised as homeless in 2005, with 1,725 households living in unfit accommodation, 4,112 in overcrowded accommodation and 3,375 involuntarily sharing. Simon Communities estimate however, that this figure vastly underestimates the true levels of homelessness in Ireland.

Given these times of economic trouble, it is probably not unrealistic to expect the levels of homeless to rise in Ireland. While we should not turn our back our fellow men in foreign countries, we do need to focus on our fellow countrymen and tackle the problem of poverty that exists on our own doorsteps.

Support charities such as Simon Communities and Focus Ireland.



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1 comment

AVT Coach said...

I came to your site from Blog Action on Poverty. I too participated in the day and I was curious who did. I came from their site where they list the over 12,000 people who posted. Thank you for posting on poverty from Ireland. I pretty much had the same idea..poverty in my own back yard. Very nice post!!

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