Pledge to tackle shel­ter prob­lems

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - NEWS - By SI­MON BROUDER

CHAR­ITY No­vas Ini­tia­tives, which runs the Ar­ling­ton Lodge home­less shel­ter in Tralee, has ad­mit­ted it didn’t re­alise how an­gry and frus­trated the public has be­come re­gard­ing the level of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour that has been linked to the fa­cil­ity.

On Tues­day morn­ing a group of around 40 Tralee busi­ness own­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers met with man­age­ment from No­vas to dis­cuss the se­vere im­pact they say Ar­ling­ton Lodge is hav­ing on them.

There was pal­pa­ble anger at the meet­ing, which heard emo­tional con­tri­bu­tions from many busi­ness own­ers and town cen­tre res­i­dents.

Sev­eral gave graphic – and of­ten grue­some - de­tails of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour they have been sub­jected to.

One wo­man who runs a small busi­ness in the town cen­tre broke down in tears as she re­lated her ex­pe­ri­ences.

The meet­ing heard nu­mer­ous calls for dras­tic changes to how Ar­ling­ton Lodge is op­er­ated.

Cur­rently Ar­ling­ton Lodge is op­er­ated as a ‘ low thresh­old’ shel­ter for res­i­dents – who in some cases may have ad­dic­tion is­sues – that are al­lowed ac­cess to al­co­hol un­der a ‘ harm re­duc­tion’ care model.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, man­age­ment at No­vas Ini­tia­tives ad­mit­ted they were sur­prised at the level of anger. No­vas – who didn’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of mov­ing some res­i­dents to other fa­cil­i­ties in the area – said it will ex­am­ine all op­tions to re­duce any anti-so­cial be­hav­iour as­so­ci­ated with the shel­ter.

No­vas Ini­tia­tives’ Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and De­vel­op­ment Co-or­di­na­tor Una Burns – who at­tended Tues­day’s meet­ing – said the char­ity took the feed­back very se­ri­ously.

“Ob­vi­ously there are some things we have no con­trol over, such as who is re­ferred to us. How­ever, we will take steps to mit­i­gate any im­pact that we have con­trol over,” she said.

“We have a very ro­bust ‘good neigh­bour’ pol­icy and if that is be­ing con­tra­vened we will ad­dress it,” said Dr Burns.

“I think, to a cer­tain de­gree, there was an aware­ness of some anti-so­cial be­hav­iour but we weren’t aware of the depth of feel­ing about it. We are now acutely aware of it and we will ad­dress it,” she said.

No­vas has agreed to hold a se­cond meet­ing with the busi­ness com­mu­nity be­fore Christ­mas, when it will out­line pro­pos­als to deal with the con­cerns raised on Tues­day.

Man­ager of Baily’s Cor­ner public house Conor O’Don­nell, who or­gan­ised Tues­day’s meet­ing, said he ap­pre­ci­ated No­vas Ini­tia­tives’ pos­i­tive re­sponse.

“We’re pleased that No­vas agreed to meet us and we ap­pre­ci­ate them com­ing down to meet us this morn­ing,” he said

“Ob­vi­ously ev­ery­one un­der­stands the need to look af­ter the less for­tu­nate peo­ple in our com­mu­nity, but there are a num­ber of se­ri­ous is­sues linked to Ar­ling­ton Lodge that we feel need to be ad­dressed ur­gently,” said Mr O’Don­nell.

“No­vas lis­tened to our con­cerns and they have promised to go back and ex­am­ine what they can do to re­solve them. Hope­fully now we’ll see some so­lu­tions,” he said.

“Some forth­right views were ex­pressed and we heard some very un­pleas­ant sto­ries. I think No­vas un­der­stand the depth of feel­ing there is about the is­sue,” said Mr O’Don­nell.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.