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Sunday 4 December 2016

Business leaders sleep rough in city centre to help homeless

charity

Some of this year's participants (LtoR) Louise Phelan of Paypal, Google MD Ronan Harris and Ann O'Leary CEO of Vodafone
Some of this year's participants (LtoR) Louise Phelan of Paypal, Google MD Ronan Harris and Ann O'Leary CEO of Vodafone

Businessman and Dragon's Den star Bobby Kerr slept rough at Christ Church Cathedral in a bid to shine a light on the issue of homelessness.

He was among some of the country's top business leaders who took part in the sleep-outs in Dublin and Cork to raise funds for Focus Ireland services, which are working to prevent and combat family homelessness.

They swapped the comfort of their beds and braved the elements with just some cardboard and a sleeping bag to raise much-needed funds for the charity on Friday night.

Speaking to the Herald about his experience, Mr Kerr (inset) said that thankfully it was a relatively mild night in terms of the temperature.

"I did it one night - the thoughts of doing it every night really makes you think," he said.

Bobby Kerr
Bobby Kerr

Problem

"A few people sleeping out is never going to solve the problem, but if it gets a bit more awareness around it, and maybe just gets some of the business heads even thinking about how you might solve the problem, it might just do some good, that was really why I did it."

He said that there was a great camaraderie with those taking part in the initiative, with around 80 people participating in Dublin alone.

NO REPRO FEE Released 18/10/2015. 125 Business Leaders Sleep Rough in Dublin and Cork to Help
NO REPRO FEE Released 18/10/2015. 125 Business Leaders Sleep Rough in Dublin and Cork to Help "Shine A Light" on Homelessness and raise vital funds for Focus Ireland's Work Ireland's top business leaders slept rough in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin and in Munster in Cork's historic City Gaol on Friday night (Oct 16th) to raise vital funds for Focus Ireland services working to prevent and combat family homelessness. Some of this year's participants included Google MD Ronan Harris, Newstalk's Bobby Kerr, Louise Phelan of Paypal, Ann O'Leary of Vodafone and Norah Casey of Harmonia Publishing. A total of 125 business men and women slept rough in Dublin and Cork as part of a wider campaign to shine a light on the issue of homelessness as well as shine a light of hope for those who are experiencing homelessness right now in Ireland. Pictured are Some of this year's participants (LtoR) CEO of Focus Ireland Ashley Balbirnie, Google MD Ronan Harris, Ann O'Leary of Vodafone, Louise Phelan of Paypal and Newstalk's

"I ended up getting up at 6am, and then went and did the radio show," the Newstalk presenter said.

John Farrelly, his producer, did it with him - and he wasn't too far away from his Dragon's Den mate Norah Casey, he added.

The night is Focus Ireland's flagship corporate event and, since 2012, more than €1m has been raised from Shine A Light Night.

Last year, Focus Ireland helped over 11,500 people - compared to 8,000 in 2012 - who were homeless or at risk.

This year, the campaign also included a work initiative which saw over 35 companies around the country hold a sleep-out.

It comes as the number of families becoming homeless has nearly doubled since last year.

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