Struggling families flock to care centre for meals...
ENTIRE families are going to homeless centres for their dinner every evening.
Before the recession, the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless in Dublin would rarely have seen children coming through its doors -- but now up to 10 families a day are coming coming in to get fed.
Many of the families are struggling to pay large mortgages taken out during the boom.
They are worried about losing their homes and literally do not have enough money to put bread on the table, says Brother Kevin Crowley, who runs the shelter.
He says that there are four times the amount of people arriving today compared with a few years ago.
Some of those now seeking help are professionals such as engineers and architects who would have been earning a very good wage during the boom years.
"It's not just homeless people who come to us, its anyone who is in need. We are getting lots of families with children coming in," he says. "Many of them have lost their jobs, and are on the verge of losing their homes. All that has increased in the past few years."
Brother Crowley points out that before the recession hit, the centre would usually have about 100 people for dinner, but now more than 450 come to eat there each day.
The number of people collecting food parcels every Wednesday has increased from 400 to more than 1,000 in the same period.
"There are professional people -- some architects and engineers -- coming in who can't pay their mortgages and are in despair.
"It's really frightening for people," Brother Crowley adds.
The Capuchin brother yesterday launched a charity cycle from Dublin to Mayo in aid of the well-known centre.
A group of 24 gardai and prison officers who completed the trip are due to arrive on their bikes in Belmullet, Co Mayo, this afternoon.
They broke the marathon 310km cycle with an overnight stop in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
The Capuchin Day Centre's running costs are €1.3m, of which €450,000 comes from the Government, with the remainder coming from fundraising events such as the cycle and charitable donations from the public.
For more details on the cycle challenge and how to donate to the centre see www.homeless.ie.
Report by Fergal Gallagher - Irish Independent