Powerful image released of homeless Irish veteran in a tricolour sleeping bag outside the GPO

A powerful image of an Irish veteran has been released today as part of a new campaign hoping to raise awareness of homelessness among former soldiers.

The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel/Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (O.N.E) is situating veterans in specially-created Tricolour sleeping bags around the streets of Dublin.

Dubbed 'Sleeping Flags', the symbolic act is challenging protocols around the treatment and representation of the Irish flag.

A short film has also been made which gives a more in-depth insight into the campaign.

Seeing the tricolour used this way might be shocking, but we need the public to see what our veterans are going through

It is being used to represent the homeless veterans who died on Dublin's streets, which was the catalyst for O.N.E setting up its first homeless hostel.

To date, the O.N.E has helped hundreds of homeless Defence Forces veterans, who have served abroad in conflict zones including The Congo, Lebanon, Syria and the Mediterranean - or at home during The Troubles.

Organisers say many come to them with depression, disabilities, PTSD, or having suffered family breakdowns.

Ollie O’Connor, CEO of O.N.E., “These Sleeping Flags are bags we never wanted to make, but if we can’t get enough funding, our veterans will end up back on the streets”.

The men and women we’re helping have a special affinity with the Tricolour. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and our next door neighbours who joined the Irish Defence Forces to serve their country. When they joined up, they were young fit men and women. They didn’t put up their hands to become homeless veterans

For more information on the Sleeping Flags Appeal, or to make a donation to O.N.E. visit sleepingflags.ie

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