Athlone town’s mayor, Jim Henson became homeless and spent approx 12 hours of a November night at the Kilmartin’s roundabout shopping complex. He was supporting the local Simon Community, and mingled with the many volunteers who also showed solidarity with the homeless community, on the damp and soaking night.
“It’s a very sad reflection on society that we came from such a boom, and still there are homeless people, and more and more people are susceptible to homelessness,” said Mayor Henson, who is a member of the Labour party.
The Mayor agreed that the government could do more to help the homeless and said that the problem is not necessarily on the surface, and that homeless people are not always out sleeping in a cardboard box.
“Everyone has a basic right to shelter and a standard of living, and this is still a country with a wealth, although not huge wealth,” said the Athlone Mayor. “But there should be a bottom line, where we don’t go beyond that line, and before we pay anybody back we should look after our own first,” said the Athlone Mayor.