Belfast Telegraph

I refuse to eat until ministers meet me, says homeless man

By Lisa Smyth

A homeless man who says he has not received adequate Government support is refusing to eat or drink until he meets the Social Development and Health Ministers.

Alex Attwood has ordered representatives from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to meet with Gordon McNeill, who claims he has not eaten or drank anything since last Monday in order to resolve the situation.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from the tent he is sheltering in at Antrim Area Hospital, Mr McNeill said he feels he has not received any help from the health service or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and now wants to take his fight to Alex Attwood and Michael McGimpsey.

“I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since last Monday and I’m in a lot of pain,” he said.

“I’m having serious chest pain but I’m willing to do this because I have serious issues that need to be addressed and that hasn’t happened so far.

“I’m originally from Ballymena, although I am homeless at the moment. I haven’t been offered any suitable accommodation. I have a physical disability that means I have to live on the ground floor and the Housing Executive are telling me they don’t have anything in Ballymena.

“That’s where my children live so if I don’t live there as well it is extremely difficult for me to see them. I feel like I am being discriminated against because of my disability.”

A spokesman from the NIHE said Mr McNeill has been offered temporary accommodation on several occasions.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said she could not comment on individual cases, while a spokesman from the Department of Social Development said: “Minister Attwood has been fully advised of Mr McNeill's case and has instructed the NIHE to facilitate a meeting with Mr McNeill.”

Belfast Telegraph


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