#WarmForWinter encourages people to hang winter clothing in public places for homeless people to take
A video of a Dublin City Council member removing jackets that were left on the Ha’penny Bridge for homeless people to take through the #WarmForWinter initiative has left Irish people shocked.
On December 7, Dublin woman Ali Nic an tSaoir shared a video on Facebook which showed a member of Dublin’s City Council collecting the coats that had been donated on the Ha’penny Bridge:
People have been leaving coats on the ha’penny bridge for the homeless, this morning myself and hundreds of other...Publiée par Ali Nic an tSaoir sur Samedi 7 décembre 2019
The post has since been liked more than 3.7 thousand times. Ali later updated her post to include a link where people can donate to the Peter McVerry Trust, a homeless charity in Ireland.
The Warm for Winter Facebook page shared a screenshot of Ali's video that encouraged people to continue donating:
We see that everyone's efforts behind #warmforwinter are being taken down.. first of all we would like to thank each and...Publiée par Warm for winter sur Samedi 7 décembre 2019
The same day that Ali posted the video, Dublin City Council said in a tweet that people should not hang coats on the bridge for “health & safety reasons- it reduces pedestrian flows & causes congestion on bridge.”
Dublin City Council asks people not to hang clothes on the Ha’Penny Bridge for health & safety reasons- it reduces pedestrian flows & causes congestion on bridge.Please consider giving them to charity shops.Items collected by DCC will be redistributed via our homeless services— Dublin City Council (@DubCityCouncil) December 7, 2019
Ali again updated her Facebook post to include DCC’s response but wondered why DCC didn’t say which charity shops the coats had been taken to and why people weren't given advanced notice.
On Twitter, DCC was largely slated for the move:
Dublin City Council asks people not to draw tourists' attention to the fact the city is in the midst of a homelessness crisis https://t.co/fthPs06S83— Ciara | Ciaraíoch (@Ciaraioch) December 8, 2019
Homeless don't have money to buy from charity shops. Citizens try to give warm clothes to people in need. The tourist market is shocked but this is the reality of a paralysed government & council. People see the dire need & act. DCC obsessed with White Water 50 euros fee. Wake up— Kristine Taylor (@Kristin60253509) December 8, 2019
More like the Goverment would prefer tourists dont know there is a Serious Homelessness problem in Dublin.— Workers' Party Upper Bann (@BannParty) December 8, 2019
Stopping people taking selfies on the bridge might make more difference than removing clothes if you are doing this honestly for safety reasons, as opposed to having zero empathy.— Siobhan McElduff (@siobhanmcelduff) December 8, 2019
For health and safety reasons DCC would like no public reminders of Dublin's homelessness problem.— Micheál (@Nameless_Weevil) December 8, 2019
With several people calling for DCC to designate another public area in the city where donations could be dropped off, Clontarf Councillor Donna Cooney suggested community centers and public buildings as drop off areas:
I would suggest a few clothes railings in civic offices and in any community centres and other public buildings throughout the city. Where people bring coats hang them up and those in need can easiliy chose a coat. They would keep dry that way. #coats #homesforall— Cllr. Donna Cooney (@donna_cooney1) December 8, 2019
Some respondents, however, also pointed out that the coats hung on the Ha'penny Bridge could become wet and unusable, and that people should instead donate to homeless charities.
#WarmForWinter organizer responds in defiance
Paddy Fryers, the Co Monaghan native who is credited with bringing #WarmForWinter to the Dublin area, told IrishCentral last week that he decided to stage donations at Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge in hopes of getting more traffic this year.
On Monday night he returned to the Ha'penny Bridge to hang more than 40 winter coats for the homeless to take in clear defiance of Dublin City Council's statement.
The organiser of the #warmforwinter campaign in Dublin has hung more than 40 coats from the Ha'penny Bridge tonight - 24 hours after the city council removed other items of clothing for health and safety reasons. Paddy Fryers says public support for the initiative remains strong. pic.twitter.com/sZ8OxYrHZT— Philip Bromwell (@philipbromwell) December 9, 2019
The latest government figures report that 10,514 people in Ireland are homeless, including more than 3,800 children.