Minister Josepha Madigan should concentrate on tackling poverty and inequality in Ireland rather than complaining about the Church, Bro. Kevin Crowley has said.
In a letter to The Irish Catholic, the leading homelessness campaigner appeals to the minister to use her influence with the Taoiseach and other Government ministers to champion the cause of fighting homelessness in Ireland.
Noting that “while highlighting the well documented inequalities in the Catholic Church, the Minister sits happily in a Government that presides over some of the most discriminatory social injustices since the foundation of the State”, the Capuchin friar calls attention to how nearly 10,000 people, including almost 4,000 children, are living in homeless accommodation.
Bro. Kevin, whose Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin’s inner city provides over 900 meals a day to Dubliners in need, describes young families as having been “betrayed by those in power” and says the State’s failure to abandon its duty of care to its young people is “a tragedy”.
The campaigner also asks the Government to explain the extent to which the State has failed to comply with its obligations under article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The article acknowledges a right to a standard of living – including housing – adequate for the health and well-being of adults and families, and says that motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.
Bro. Kevin explicitly calls on Ms Madigan to take “immediate action” to relieve the plight of “rough sleepers most at risk of dying on the side of the road” and to “relieve the misery of families who have been betrayed by successive failed ‘Action Plans’ and simply cannot wait for the Government to get it right”.
“These families need immediate Christian/Humanitarian action so that they can live life to the full with respect and dignity as God Intended,” he said.
Bro. Kevin’s comments come following a high-profile speech by Ms Madigan to the ‘We Are Church’ group last month, in which the Government minister claimed the Church “has a blind spot when it comes to the real inclusion of the marginalised or the stigmatised”.
“Irish public life in general has been well served by those who speak out against injustices, even when their actions are not appreciated or welcomed,” she added.