“I’M just a mam trying to do my best.”
With homeless figures continuing to rise, Cliona Mead is organising a rally to highlight the issue in Laois.
“The reason I wanted to organise a protest in Laois was because I saw on Facebook that there is a major rally taking place in Dublin on Thursday 5 December over the homeless epidemic in Ireland. I wanted to get involved, stand up and say enough is enough. But because of health issues with both myself and one of my young children, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Dublin. So I decided to do something myself and organise one locally, said Ms Mead.
The Portlaoise mother of two said: “I’ve never done anything like this before. I know that there is a major housing problem around the country, including Laois. I’d say that it is an epidemic at this stage. Just because homeless people are not seen sleeping on the streets in towns and villages around Laois doesn’t mean that they are not there and that there is no serious homeless problem.
“Portlaoise Action to Homelessness, Tom Duffy from Feed Our Homeless and Ken Smollen are fantastic people and are doing the best they can to help homeless people in Laois. Our county councillors or TDs don’t seem to be addressing the issue.”
Outlining her reasons for organising the rally at the Civic Plaza in Portlaoise at noon on Thursday 5 December, Ms Mead said: “I wanted to give people who couldn’t attend the national rally in Dublin on that day and who really care about the homeless epidemic to come and stand together; to tell government that we’ve had enough, that our voices should be heard and that we are not going to take this any more. I wanted to tell them that something has to be done about the homeless situation that many families are facing.
“Just because people can’t see the problem, doesn’t mean that it’s not there. I’m hoping that we make enough noise for someone to hear us and to do something serious about the problem. Someone somewhere must realise that homelessness has reached epidemic proportions.”
Ms Mead said she was unsure about what will happen after the Portlaoise rally, but added: “If enough people show an interest in the rally and really want to organise after it, we’ll see where it goes from there. But I’m just a mam trying to do my best. I hope others will come out on the day, join in and try to highlight the growing issue of homelessness and the housing crisis in Laois.”