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Homeless crisis sees people sleeping in tents at The Spire on Dublin's O'Connell Street

Three young men have set up their tents on O’Connell street in recent days.

Tents on Dublin's O'Connell Street

Eugene Masterson

Homeless people are for the first time living in the middle of the country’s biggest thoroughfare.

Dublin’s O’Connell street is now home to a growing number of tents, whose owners have pitched just metres from the GPO and the Spire.

The country’s homelessness problem has rarely been so starkly exposed as in these images of destitute people struggling to survive on the capital's most famous street.

Three young men - from Croatia, Scotland and Hungary - set up their tents on O’Connell street in recent days.

“I’m homeless about a month now,” says Kes (19), who is from Croatia and minding his Hungarian friend’s Jack Russell dog Minister while he was momentarily away.

“I met the other two guys at the places where we get free food and also at the places where I can get a shower.”

Kes who is staying in a tent on O'Connell Street

Kes says he arrived in Ireland several months ago.

“We are three clean guys who came here to work but there is a big housing crisis and rents are too high.

"The whole homeless sheltering system, and the way it’s being handled, is a little bit freaky.”

He said gardai have monitored them but have allowed them stay where they are for now.

“They have come but have seen we are not doing anything illegal or taking drugs or anything like that,” he says.

Kes is currently unemployed.

“I lost my job basically because of tiredness and being homeless,” he explains.

“You get really tired dealing with homelessness, basically sleeping on the streets.

"You can get a pretty good hostel, but you can get bad ones where room-mates scream and keep lights on or the telly on, so you can’t get a good sleep.”

He adds: “We are also here to raise awareness and also to build a community of clean homeless people here on O’Connell street.

"We want to show people that homeless people can live a pretty clean life with no houses.”

Kes has been sleeping rough after losing his job

Hungarian man Thomas, who owns the dog Minister, tells us he has been homeless for several months.

Paul Lennon explains that while he himself is not homeless he is helping raise awareness of the problem and has his own campaign on Facebook.

“I started with a letter to the Minister of Housing Darragh O’Brien, outlining the current state of homelessness,” he recalls.

Activist Paul Lennon and Thomas

“We have more than 10,000 homeless people in Ireland.

"I was protesting and making a peaceful campaign in front of Leinster House yesterday for three hours and I started on Monday, I was sleeping rough in the tent and I was peacefully protesting, creating awareness.

“I’m going to continue doing it until the Government make changes to help homeless people and I want to help them raise awareness of the problem.”

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