Belfast Telegraph

Over 400 GAA stars take part in 'homeless crisis sleep-outs'

Over 400 GAA stars have taken part in "homeless crisis sleep-outs."

Former and intercounty hurling, football and camogie players came together to show solidarity with the homeless by sleeping rough for a night.

The 'Solidarity Sleepout' initiative was the creation of Gaelic Voices For Change, a new social action group.

People came from all over Ireland and abroad to take part and show their support.

The group is supported by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and Women's Gaelic Players Association (WGPA) who want to raise awareness of Ireland's housing and homelessness crisis.

Former Wexford hurling captain Diarmuid Lyng led the Wexford sleep-out.

He said: "The thing that struck me most was hearing the chorus of voices on the street sincerely dissatisfied with the Governments response to what is fast becoming a humanitarian concern.

"People walking around their fellow people, one up the other down, serves the humanity in neither.

"People who spoke to us said that they accepted that they have a role to play too in their own behaviour, how they contribute to the issue, but fundamentally they feel at a structural level, we are creating this problem by becoming economic slaves to vested interests in this land."

Roscommon footballer Alan Moore commented: " My reflection on the night is how vulnerable you feel when you actually bed down for a night on the streets, how uncomfortable and unnatural it is and how inconceivable it is for someone to do that day in and day out.

"While I have a warm bed to go home to, many people do not have this luxury and for me this is simply not acceptable in 21st century Ireland."

Valerie Mulcahy, former Cork player stated: "I'm delighted to support this campaign. I feel like it's important to use our voices as players and help those that are vulnerable in our society, not turn our back on them.

"This is why I took part. It's not acceptable to have people homeless in Ireland. Gaelic Games are built on communities, with a collective sense of belonging and supporting your neighbour."

Mulcahy added: "This sleep-out was a wider expression of that ethos by the players involved, extending a helping hand to others in our community."

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