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Protest Planned For St Catherines Sports Centre on Monday


The following is a press release from the Fairness 4 D8 Young People action group relating to controversial new plans for St Catherines Centre.

PRESS RELEASE: Unregistered homeless to be accommodated alongside vulnerable young people in Dublin

The Foyer is a Dublin 8 project that has successfully been running in the premises of St Catherine’s Community Centre for the last 10 years, helping vulnerable homeless young people get their lives back on track. St Catherine’s also plays host to local children on a regular basis, who happily use the centre’s shared entrance to access the sports facilities available. The two services have coexisted seamlessly for over 10 years, yet Dublin City Council announced last month that the centre will become a Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) shelter from 22 August 2013.

STA facilities accommodate long-term homeless individuals on an ad-hoc basis, meaning that service users are often unknown, unregistered and no background checks can be performed. DCC’s proposal means that potentially high-risk adults will be sharing facilities with vulnerable young people who have worked hard to turn their lives around, as well as being exposed to the many local children who use the centre on a daily basis.

The decision was taken without any input from the community, residents or parents of the many local children who use the facility on a daily basis. No consultation has taken place with the young people engaged in The Foyer project, who are accommodated on site and who will be forced to interact with unknown adults, some of whom could have alcohol or drug problems, or criminal records.

The McVerry Trust intend to operate the proposed STA shelter (Supported Temporary Accommodation) and have said that no drugs or alcohol can be taken while on the premises. However people with active addictions will be accommodated as long as they don’t ‘use’ in the facility and therefore may be queuing up outside the centre during the day in order to secure a bed. Local children will have to walk past them in order to get to their sports lessons.

Spokesperson for the action group ‘Fairness 4 Dublin 8’, set up by local residents to prevent this changeover, said “The McVerry Trust have only given one guarantee, that no sex offenders will stay in the centre, but we know the under the STA system this is not possible to enforce. There is no way of doing background checks so they will have no way of knowing who is an ex-prisoner or sex offender that is walking through the same door as the local children.”

“We are not against homeless services, in fact the community has supported the medium term Foyer for the last 10 years, but Dublin 8 already has the highest concentration of homeless shelters in Dublin and the highest concentration of young families in the south inner city. The location is just not appropriate.”

This decision was taken without any input from local community, residents or parents of the children who use the facility on a daily basis. Dublin City Council simply announced at a meeting on July 19th that the decision had already been made. Dublin 8 already has 9 of Dublin’s 16 homeless shelters which is a disproportionately high number and the area is already struggling with social and economic issues. Hundreds of local young people will be affected.

A protest will be held on Monday, 12th of August at 1pm outside the DCC offices, Fishamble St.

The community would like:
• Dublin City Council to consult with the community through the newly formed action group Fairness 4 Dublin 8
• Continuance of the Foyer service as it is currently run either by a new host organisation or by Dublin City Council itself
• Continuance of the service as a referral only project and not a placement service for high risk individuals
• Set up a community monitoring group to regularly meet with the new management to ensure the continued smooth running of the centre within the community
• That any negative funding issues for the continuance of the Foyer Project, as a result of the Pathways to Home policy, be dealt with by exempting the project from this policy and funding it as a medium term accommodation for young people project.

Action Group: Fairness 4 D8 Young People
Contact: if you have questions or require more quotes/information or interviews.


by Lorraine Fitzgerald (In the photo with Michael Carruth below)

My name is Lorraine FitzGerald and I am President of St Catherine’s Boxing Club. We have being up and running in St Catherine’s sports centre since 2008 and since that time our Club has gone from strength to strength. We have over 130 registered members from the Dublin 8 area, many of whom box competitively. We believe that boxing is one of the best ways improving the fitness, confidence and self-esteem of young people as well as keeping them out of drugs and crime. All our coaches have Done Child Protection in Sport Awareness Courses and are guided by this code of ethics and good practice when dealing with young people.

This is why we have always been supportive of the Foyer project. It gave young people a way out of homeless and never impacted upon the adjoining sports or the local community. This why we can’t understand the decision by DCC and the Peter McVerry trust to open a Supported Transition Accommodation centre in the same building as a Community Sports Centre. I mean we all have to be Garda vetted and trained in child protection before even setting foot in the building. When this shelter opens we will have drug addicts, people with mental problems and convicted criminals using the same building entrance as young children. How does that make sense? We need the existing model in place of addiction free and vetted young people kept in place.

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One Response

  1. We posted a video of the St Catherines Sports Centre protest @ DCC Civic Offices (Wood Quay) on YouTube. We will also be posting an article and images of the protest on over the coming days.

    You can watch the video here:

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