A picture showing a young homeless boy who is living in emergency accommodation eating a dinner off cardboard on the ground in Dublin has sparked outrage online.
It shows five-year-old "Sam" eating carbonara on a Dublin street last night.
The photo, posted on Facebook by The Homeless Street Cafe, has prompted thousands of reactions. The charity revealed this afternoon that the image has now reached over a quarter of a million people on Facebook.
The group, who offer food, toiletries, clothes and friendship to the homeless every Tuesday night on Dublin's Grafton Street, posted the photo saying: "We are home after another incredibly busy night.
"I’m exhausted, weary and emotional and should (guiltily) go to bed BUT there is an image burnt in all the teams minds tonight.
"It’s wrong and it’s distressing but this IS happening and it’s only getting worse each week.
"'Sam' is 5 and this was him eating a dinner of carbonara tonight on a sheet of cardboard. Can we really accept this?"
The volunteer group confirmed that 'Sam' is in emergency accommodation and goes to school.
They said: "His mother is simply trying to access nutritious home cooked meals for him. Most emergency accommodations strictly forbid cooking or food preparation."
Many people reacted, asking if they could send donations and also suggesting that someone set up a GoFundMe page to help the child.
One commenter wrote: "My god this is just devastating and so hard to see as a mother of 2 little boys my heart is broke looking at this picture. We need to take a stand as a country, things need to change."
Another wrote: "Saddest picture I ‘ve seen in a long time. To think this is real life for so many unfortunate people," while another said: "I never imagined seeing an image such as this in Dublin. I won’t forget it."