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cold comfort Muslim Sisters of Eire reveal stories of desperation as hundreds queue in the cold in Dublin

'We were heartbroken when approached by a gentleman in flip flops. He was sleeping in an alleyway and someone stole his shoes'

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Hundreds queued on Friday night. Photo: Muslim Sisters of Eire

Hundreds queued on Friday night. Photo: Muslim Sisters of Eire

Hundreds queued on Friday night. Photo: Muslim Sisters of Eire

The Muslim Sisters of Éire, who run a soup kitchen outside Dublin’s GPO on O’Connell Street, have revealed how they were left "heartbroken" after a man approached them in flip flops in the freezing cold after his shoes were stolen. 

The charity group also told how they handed out hundreds of hot meals to queues of people on Friday night who lined up looking for food.

In recent weeks the soup run has been almost overwhelmed by demand as they try to relieve the suffering of those in need, and Friday night was no exception.

“It was a very cold Friday evening,” the group tweeted. “We went back to serving from the tables today with 330 hot meals, pastries, bread, fruits and drinks."

"We also had hygiene packs, 10 sleeping bags and five bags for life.

"We were heartbroken when approached by a gentleman in flip flops. He was sleeping in an alleyway and someone stole his shoes.

“One of the volunteers quickly got him a pair from Penneys. We couldn’t have helped all these people without your support! Thank you.”

The charity also expressed their sympathies with the family of a homeless man who was found dead in Dublin during the week.

They wrote: “Last night was so cold. How many more homeless deaths are we waiting for? Our sincere condolences to his friends and family.”

The man’s body was found in Henry Place in the city centre on Thursday. Gardai said they are not treating the death as suspicious.

In an earlier post they revealed other stories of desperation, including how one young man’s tent had been slashed and he was looking for a sleeping bag, as well as a pregnant woman “who only wanted a hot meal”.

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“These are faces that we cannot forget and cannot unwind after returning home,” the charity posted. “Thank you all for supporting our work. We are very grateful to each and every one of you.”

In October, the Muslim Sisters of Éire said: “It broke our hearts” to read an independent report that criticised on-street homeless services.

“The service we provide is so badly needed and it broke our hearts to read the so-called independent report on the soup runs,” the charity said in a post on Facebook.

“It is very insulting, we were scrutinised in March to be HSE registered, to have all our people trained, to do anything HSE wanted us to do which we did.

“We find that utterly insulting and we are tired and if there wasn’t a need then we wouldn’t be leaving our homes at night for feeding the endless queues.”

The charity was responding to a report commissioned by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive that called for immediate action “to address risks of on-street services”.

As many as 20 unofficial homelessness organisations are operating in Dublin city, with reports of rough sleepers being woken several times during the night to be offered food by various groups.

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