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Gardai shut down stall giving out food to the homeless

Gardai shut down stall giving out food to the homeless

A group of volunteers who were handing out food to the homeless on Grafton Street were told to shut up shop by the gardai because they didn’t have a permit.

The group, March for the Homeless, said what happened was “heartbreaking”, leading the minister with responsibility for solving the crisis to say that groups like theirs should be “facilitated” in continuing their work.

Group organiser Darren Bradley told the Herald: “They took volunteers’ names and addresses, which really shocked me, and told them never to come back.”

He said gardai should “concentrate on drug dealers and not on people doing good. It’s heartbreaking.”

Mr Bradley said the group normally give out meals like chicken curry, spaghetti and sandwiches as well as toiletries, clean clothes and sleeping bags.

“The homeless people were left without food. If we were selling food I’d understand, because we would need a permit, but we’re giving it away for free.”

A Garda spokesman said that officers were called to Grafton Street where a temporary structure was set up, adding that “it was attracting a significant amount of people”.

“Those involved in setting up the structure did not have permits from Dublin City Council and were asked to remove the structures on the grounds that they were causing an obstruction and were a safety concern.

“We would ask anyone who wishes to set up structures on streets in the city to liaise with Dublin City Council,” he said.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly said on the incident: "I think people who are doing work like that should be facilitated.

"Certainly, I feel a bit of common sense should come in here when it comes to the issue of permits."

The group have continued dishing out food on the streets of Dublin following the incident.

On Tuesday night, the group were told to move a van by Gardai but were allowed to serve food.