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Thursday 23 January 2020

Council removes coats donated to needy from Ha'penny Bridge

The coats were left on railings on the Ha’penny Bridge for homeless people to take. They’ll now be distributed through the city homeless services
The coats were left on railings on the Ha’penny Bridge for homeless people to take. They’ll now be distributed through the city homeless services

Dublin City Council has said that coats removed from Ha'penny Bridge for health and safety reasons will be redistributed through homeless services.

Kind-hearted Dubliners had been hanging coats on the bridge for the homeless community alongside a note that read: "If you need one, please take one. If you want to help, please hang one up. #warmforwinter."

However, Dublin City Council (DCC) said the items were causing health and safety issues such as congestion and reducing pedestrian flow.

The council said the clothes they collected will be redistributed to homeless services through the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE).

A DCC spokesperson said while the council recognises the good intentions of those who donated, it "must, at all times, put public safety first".

"A decision was taken by Dublin City Council to remove coats and jackets that were hung on the Ha'penny Bridge railings by members of the public.

"The decision was made based on health and safety concerns, in order to avoid obstruction and congestion occurring along a key pedestrian artery crossing the River Liffey," they said.

"The items of clothing will be redistributed to those in need through homeless Services.

Surges

"Dublin City Council recognises the well-intentioned call to action. However, it is the city council's duty to protect the public and prevent accidents from occurring on this footbridge, through any restrictions in pedestrian flow, particularly at this time of year when thousands of people use this bridge on a daily basis.

"Crowd surges are a particular concern and Dublin City Council must, at all times, put public safety first. This is a policy that we enforce in relation to all objects left on the bridge railings or pathways.

"With mixed weather conditions expected over the coming days, it is likely that such clothing could become damp, rendering them unsuitable for use by anyone.

"Dublin City Council are very open to coming to an alternative arrangement, recognising the spirit of giving and generosity at this time of year."

A video circulating online showing the coats being removed sparked outrage among some social media users.

Others pointed out that the coats should be sent to charities.

Brian McLoughlin, of Inner City Helping Homeless, called on the council to clarify where the jackets were being sent to.

"We would ask questions as to who in DCC authorised these jackets to be removed and where they have been removed to," he said.

"The campaign captured the attention of people and highlighted the need for supports."

Mr McLoughlin acknowledged that bad weather "would obviously have impacted the campaign".

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