Home Sport GAA Laois Hurlers holding solidarity sleep-out in aid of homelessness

Laois Hurlers holding solidarity sleep-out in aid of homelessness

Members of the Laois senior hurlers are taking part in a solidarity sleep-out to raise awareness for the homelessness and housing crisis in Ireland.

The sleep-out will take place in Lyster Square in Portlaoise on December 15.

The Laois lads will join a group of current and former inter-county football, hurling and camogie players who are passionate about making a difference have united under the umbrella of ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’.

The new player-led social movement is made up of volunteers from the four provinces who have been meeting weekly for the past two months.

Members include Tipperary hurlers Brendan Maher and Patrick Bonner Maher, Waterford hurler Noel Connors, Cork footballer Valerie Mulcahy, former Wexford hurling captain Diarmuid Lyng, Dublin footballers Eamon Fennell, Michael Darragh McAuley and Sinead Finnegan, Tyrone footballer Gemma Begley, and Cavan footballer Alan O’Mara, among others.

The group, which is supported by the GPA and WGPA, feel strongly that the GAA is based on community values and that they want to use their voice to support the most vulnerable in society.

They have identified the housing and homeless crisis as a priority area to focus on but are also keen to look at areas such as mental health, gambling and racism.

Already over 150 county players and past players have signed up for the sleep-out which will take place in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Portlaoise, Waterford, Wexford and Carlow.

Full back Leigh Bergin is one of the driving forces behind the movement in Laois and he spoke to us about it.

He said: “It is being organised by ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’ which is a voluntary community action initiative that shines a light on important social issues and offers support to those in need.

“The aim of the sleep out is to generate solidarity, funds, awareness, and action.

“We are really looking forward to the sleep out and creating awareness for such a meaningful cause.

“We are doing this to create as much awareness as possible of the homelessness crisis in Ireland coming up to Christmas time.”

The group are also appealing for help with tea and coffee, food, sleeping bags, music and entertainment, and fundraising in each of the sleep-out locations.

People can also support by donating online at www.gaelicvoicesforchange.com.

All funds raised will go to homeless charities including the Peter McVerry Trust, the Simon Communities, Focus Ireland and the Capuchin Day Centre.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.