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Ireland legend Roy Keane visited Cork’s Penny Dinners

Ireland legend Roy Keane visited Cork’s Penny Dinners

Ireland legend Roy Keane visited Cork’s Penny Dinners

Roy Keane made a surprise visit to Penny Dinners in Cork earlier this week.

Arriving on Thursday at the soup kitchen, which provides hot meals to the homeless and needy, Keane led one volunteer to wonder if he was the subject of an elaborate hoax.

He simply wouldn't believe that the quietly spoken masked man was the former Irish International and Manchester United player.

Caitriona Twomey, who runs the facility, said that the native of Mayfield in the city has always been hugely kind behind the scenes without ever looking for praise or acclaim.

"It picked us right up. He is very kindhearted. He has time for everyone," she said.

"One of our volunteers still doesn't believe it because obviously Roy was wearing a mask.

"It only came off for the picture. It was only then that the volunteer believed it. He thought we were pranking him.

"Roy is very good to us. He always pops in to see us when he is home."

Roy observed social distancing, with Caitriona saying they took off their masks for the very short period of time it took to take a photograph.

Staff at Penny Dinners are very Covid-conscious given the vulnerability of some of the people who come to the door to pick up dinners.

Unfortunately, they haven't had any in-house dining since March, which is leaving its mark on people who enjoy the chats.

Caitriona and the team are working on plans for outdoor meals for Christmas day in a setting which she hopes will involve heaters and coverings.

Their dream is to have a "little miracle on Hanover Street."

Focus

Ms Twomey said it is ironic that we celebrate Christmas with Jesus being born in the stable, while in 2020, homeless people are eating their meals outdoors because of Covid-19.

She says that at the moment the focus is on "rescuing Christmas day." The charity normally feeds in the region of 200 people on Christmas day.

Caitriona says, as usual, the River Lee Hotel will provide meals with all the trimmings.

"We have to give people a bit of love and joy to keep them going. People need joy and hope all the time not just at Christmas," she said.

She says she attempts to stay positive but her heart breaks for regular service users who would like nothing else but to sit inside Penny Dinners daily for their meals.

"People have to walk around an empty city all day long and fall asleep in the freezing cold as well," she said.

"We have to keep positive and things rolling out because if they see us worried or fearful they become worried and fearful."


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