'tough night' | 

Dublin hero Philly McMahon sleeps rough in the city as he joins fundraiser for homeless

Philly McMahon sleeping rough in Dublin

GAA legend Philly McMahon felt the cold

Philly McMahon and his pals sleep out

Philly McMahon© SPORTSFILE

Eugene MastersonSunday World

GAA legend Philly McMahon has joined tens of thousands of people who slept out rough to raise funds for a homeless charity.

The eight-time All-Ireland winner with Dublin wrapped up as he spent Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning in a sleeping bag with several friends outside his gym in the capital.

Focus Ireland hope to have raised €1.5 million as part of their Shine A Light sleep-out campaign.

“To be honest, it was tough; it got colder as the night went on,” Philly (35) tells the Sunday World.

“It lashed rain at 3am, so we got to experience being cold and wet. It’s only a snippet of what homeless people go through on the streets.

“There was a great sense of community after it. Bedo7 (his gym) and the wider community raised nearly €500, so we are delighted with that.”

Philly adds that he gets “triggered” every time he sees a homeless person on the street after his late brother’s own experience of homelessness.

Philly McMahon and his pals sleep out

The Ballymun star lost his older brother John in 2012, aged 31, after a long battle with addiction and has told how his death changed him as a person and his attitude towards addiction.

The sports star admits “it’s close to home” anytime he sees a homeless person as his brother ended up homeless due to his addiction problems.

He revealed he was once saddened to discover when walking over Ha’Penny Bridge once in the capital that a man sleeping there was a former childhood friend.

“I sat down with him and asked him how it happened,” says the father-of-one.

“Basically, he was living with his girlfriend, they had a fight and he wrecked the house. He did time for it and he had nowhere to go when he got out.

Business leaders, companies and individuals were encouraged to sleep out in their workplace, home, or gardens for one night to shine a light on homelessness in Ireland.

Together, with the support of Bord Gáis Energy, the business community and public, Focus Ireland is aiming to raise €1.5 million in 2022 to support families and children homeless in Ireland.

In May, I homelessness figures surpassed 10,000, the highest figure recorded since before the pandemic.

There are 1,308 families, including 2,944 children without a home.

Focus adds that these families can spend up to two years in a one-bedroom room in an emergency accommodation situation, which has a significant impact on mental health, self-esteem, and child development.

“However, homelessness would be much worse without the work of Focus Ireland.

Philly McMahon© SPORTSFILE

" We are ending homelessness every day for families and individuals and our services are working hard to protect people who are currently homeless – especially children from the trauma caused by homelessness,” said a spokesperson. Bord Gáis Energy has been supporting Focus Ireland since 2015, and 2022 marks the company’s fourth year sponsoring Shine A Light Night.

To donate, see www.focusireland/shinealight.ie.

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