Down and Out in Dublin : Homelessness (1964)

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Down and Out in Dublin

A look at life for those who are living in the back streets and hostels of Dublin in 1964.
“They exist rather than live, sheltered by state and religious institutions, fed by charitable organisations, avoided by their fellow citizens, studied by sociologists, moved by policemen, jeered at by children in the street. They lead the most public and the most private of lives. Everyone knows them to see, but scarcely anyone knows them to talk to or understand just how or why they drifted into their present hopelessness.”
Reporter Father Peter Lemass hears the stories of men who find themselves out of work and out of home. The men describe how they spend the day and the places they rely on for food and shelter.
The Little Flower Centre on Meath Street, Dublin provides meals for a nominal fee.
Some of the men describe how convents and presbyteries can be sources of cash. The Iveagh Hostel is seen as being one of the best in the city but it is also one of the most expensive places to get a bed for the night.
At a former workhouse in North Brunswick Street, the Legion of Mary run the North Star Hostel for a small charge. Men can get an evening meal, a night’s lodging and breakfast. At the hostel in Back Lane there is no charge for a bed but you can only stay for fourteen nights. A number of the men describe how they sleep in the Phoenix Park.
A member of St Vincent de Paul who run the Back Lane hostel talks about the problems for homeless people in Dublin. Despite the charitable work of religious orders running the hostels and food kitchens some of the men talk about having little or no religious belief.
Helen Burke of the Sociology Department at UCD talks about what can be done for those who are living rough now and how can society help young people from ending up homeless and out of work


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