An image of a young boy eating his dinner sitting on a cardboard box on the cold concrete streets of the Irish capital has sparked an outpouring of both empathy and anger.
The boy nicknamed Sam was spotted on the side of a main road in Dublin, by The Homeless Street Cafe on October 15 – when overnight lows dipped to 4C.
The group of volunteers, who patrol Grafton Street in the inner city every Tuesday offering food, toiletries, warm clothing and a kind word to the homeless, came across the child eating his dinner and were compelled to share the poignant image.
The Homeless Street Cafe shared this image on its Facebook page that shows the young boy eating his dinner off a cardboard box on a main street in the Irish capital
Thousands have responded with sadness and anger at the poignant image of the young boy seen eating outside, on the streets, on a cold autumn night
In a post, which has since been shared thousands of times, volunteers for the organisation wrote of their evident distress seeing a homeless child.
‘We are home after another incredibly busy night. I’m exhausted, weary and emotional and should (guiltily) go to bed BUT there is an image burnt in all the teams’ minds tonight.
‘It’s wrong and it’s distressing but this IS happening and it’s only getting worse each week.
‘Sam’ is 5 and this was him eating a dinner of carbonara tonight on a sheet of cardboard. Can we really accept this ?
Thousands have commented on the post , with many wanting to help, others expressing their gratitude to the charity for its work, and others yet calling for the Irish Government to make the issue of homelessness a priority.
One woman wrote: ‘Something needs to be done for any person, or persons living on our streets. It’s not acceptable in this day and age when our government had money to spend else where.
‘This situation has to take priority.’
Another woman wrote: ‘So sad, shame on this country’, and another: ‘This is so very heartbreaking…what can I do to help?’
Another, a mother herself , expressed her sadness at the poignant image.
‘This is so sad. I have a 5 year old and I can’t imagine how he’d survive like that.
‘All we hear every morning when we turn on the news these days is about Brexit! What about this poor little boy and I can imagine countless other children eating their dinner from a pavement… Why aren’t our government taking action?’
The Homeless Street Cafe thanked all those who responded to their post, as it gave an update on the boy’s situation.
It said the boy was in emergency accommodation and goes to school.
‘His mother is simply trying to access nutritious home-cooked meals for him. Most emergency accommodations strictly forbid cooking or food preparation.’
The latest Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government Homelessness Report figures from August this year showed that in the Irish capital there were 6,143 adults and 2850 children who were homeless or living in temporary or emergency accommodation.
Across all of Ireland there were 8,216 adults and 3848 children who were deemed to be homeless.
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