President Michael D Higgins has said the “burden of homelessness will overshadow the festive season for those deprived of a secure and permanent shelter”.
He is correct but the burden of homelessness should overshadow the festive season not just for the homeless, but for all the citizens Ireland. It is a matter of national shame that at a time of relative prosperity we are unable to provide homes for our most vulnerable citizens, especially children.
Our governing system has failed in several vital respects, and that is our responsibility as citizens, to ensure that our government is governing.
President Higgins also highlighted the problems facing refugees and asylum seekers internationally.
Our government is also failing in its, and our, obligations to help and provide refuge for such people.
Those who say that “charity begins at home”, implying that we should ignore the plight of refugees, are wrong. It is an insult for us to offer charity to our families, and it’s an insult for our government to offering charity to our vulnerable citizens.
Our families and citizens have entitlements to important basic services. Charity is what we do for, and give to, strangers in need, in our communities and internationally.
We as citizens, and our government are failing in our respective duties to provide basic services such as housing and health services, and also failing in our charity towards foreign strangers in need.
Happy Christmas — for some.