Sunday Independent newspaper article leaves priest-activist furious
Priest-activist Fr Peter McVerry has rejected criticism of charities working with homeless people in the Sunday Independent newspaper.
The article, by journalist Jody Corcoran, asserts that “the truth is we do not have a ‘homeless crisis’ as such, not much more critical than ordinarily, but there are serious questions to be asked in relation to management of the homeless issue”.
Fr McVerry recently said Ireland was facing a ‘tsunami of homelessness’. “But the problem does not appear to be new or growing wildly out of control, as he and others seem to suggest,” according to the Sunday Independent report.
“Surely the time has come to examine what is being done with all of this money – and, in particular, what the many homelessness charities are doing,” the article asks.
Fr Peter McVerry told The Irish Catholic he was “angered” by the analysis, and suggested that Mr Corcoran turn his hand to solving homelessness.
Fr McVerry also claimed that the numbers mentioned in the article – 2,663 homeless people in Ireland – were incorrect.
“There are at least 5,000 homeless people in Ireland.
“Ask the homeless people, if the Peter McVerry Trust did not exist, would the homeless be better off? It makes me angry. He [the journalist] is criticising people who are trying to do something about homelessness. Let him come up with an alternative,” Fr McVerry said.
He questioned the rationale behind the article, insisting “this is not an appropriate time to criticise homeless services.
“I don’t mind valid criticism, but this is not constructive.
“If [the Sunday Independent] feels harassed by people asking for money to help the homeless, well, I do not apologise about asking for money,” said Fr McVerry.