Belfast Telegraph

Soup kitchen operator feeding the hungry in Republic of Ireland shuts premises after jail threat

The operator of the network of Twist soup kitchens has avoided the threat of jail by shutting down one of his soup kitchens.

Last week, Ennis Town Council told Oliver Williams, a former helicopter pilot, that he could face a six-month prison term or a large fine of up to €12,697 if convicted of operating an unauthorised soup kitchen in the Co Clare town.

In a warning letter, it told Mr Williams his soup kitchen operating at St Flannan's Terrace, Clonroad Beg, Ennis did not have planning permission.

Yesterday, Mr Williams confirmed he has shut down the soup kitchen and would not be seeking planning retention.

"The real losers in this are the people in Ennis who need the service and there is a demand," he said.

Mr Williams was himself homeless while living in London in the 1980s.

“Like everyone else, I’ve experienced hard times. And you don’t have to look too hard to see that the most vulnerable in our society are being hit the hardest by the economic crisis.”

The Irish government recently revealed that 10 percent of the population is living in a state of “food poverty.”

Oliver Williams: Soup Kitchens 2013 from Paula Geraghty on Vimeo.


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