The first night of the Sleep Out went by relatively uneventfully, of course we had a few visitors through the course of the night, some praising our efforts amid drunken slur, others just up to a bit of tipsy mischief, it was about 5am before things really calmed down and most of us settled down to make an attempt at sleeping as best we could. I managed to get about three to four hours of solid sleep under my belt, which although getting that much sleep isn’t always the norm on the Sleep Out, I wasn’t exactly energetic this morning.
Today is the first day of a three day Sleep Out I’m taking part in , in aid of the homeless of Dublin. For those that don’t know the Sleep Out is an event run by students, past and present of Belvedere College, and held annually to raise both awareness for homelessness in our capital and three homeless charities (Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again), all of which are trying to counter its growth. It involves a group of us staying out on the streets from the morning of the 22nd until the evening of the 24th of December each year to fund-raise for this event.
Being the first day there’s not all that much to write home about yet, speaking from experience however it is the next 48 hours that will prove the most eventful.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with a young Mauritian man by the name of Rohan who has been living, working and studying in Ireland for the past six years. However in the near future it looks likely that he will be forced to leave the country, along with his wife, his brother and her sister as their visas have not been renewed since the start of the summer and their future in the country is in bureaucratic limbo. This has come around because of a change in policy regarding Immigration and Visas for non EU citizens in Ireland that was brought into effect at the beginning of 2011.
When I first heard there was a “Multicultural Centre” in my area, on Prussia St (a little bit of a dodgy area, very close to Dublin City Centre, sort of a cultureless void) that was less than a three minute walk from my house, I was sceptical at best. I had visions of the local parish center filled with old biddies, screaming kids and rickety plywood topped, steel legged fold away tables covered in foul looking jellies and watery coffee. The smell of disinfectant that I get from the building I had in mind, as I pass by it on a daily basis, really wasn’t my thing.
As you may have guessed; I was wrong. Very wrong.