Good Samaritan pays for homeless man’s hotel nights

March 9th, 2020 1:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The man was sleeping in a bus shelter on Wolfe Tone Square in Bantry.

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A GOOD Samaritan in Bantry has paid for a homeless man to be accommodated in a local hotel for three nights during a recent cold snap.

Local businesswoman, Catherine Wharton, paid for the man’s accommodation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night of last week, after finding him sleeping in a bus shelter that is open to the elements on Wolfe Tone Square.

She told The Southern Star she believes that because the man is a non-national and has had troubles in the past, people are turning ‘a blind eye’ to his predicament. Ms Wharton said some other people have also paid for him to be accommodated and that she had felt obliged to do so because ‘I couldn’t bear to walk away.’

She said she feared that if she didn’t help the man – who is believed to be in his early 30s – he would have frozen to death on the street.

Last year, another homeless man, who relocated to Bantry, was accommodated by the local authorities, but in this instance, Ms Wharton said she believes this man is having difficulties accessing the proper services. It is her understanding that he was asked to travel to Clonakilty, where he could access information, and possibly assistance, from homelessness agency Novas but, she asked: ‘How is he supposed to get there?’

She said: ‘The situation is very sad. It was freezing on Wednesday night when I went down with tea and sandwiches and baked goods. He was asleep but I woke him up. I couldn’t bear to walk away.’ Catherine said she offered to pay his accommodation but he initially refused, saying he would be ‘okay.’ She said she insisted and told him that if he didn’t accept her help, he would die on the streets.

The businesswoman said: ‘He couldn’t believe anyone would be so nice to him.’ She also acknowledged that the Independent TD, Michael Collins, is ‘trying to do his bit for him’ but she called for an end to the situation.
‘When a dog goes missing, people put it up all over Facebook. This isn’t right, seeing people sleeping on the street. It shouldn’t be left up to the normal person to help these people. The homeless have their own issues and the proper resources should be there to help them.’

The owner of Wharton’s Fish and Chips said: ‘I am comfortable. I have a roof over my head and food on the table, but it breaks my heart to see anyone without food, and living on the street.’

The Southern Star was awaiting a response from Cork County Council at time of going to press.

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