THE retired Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, the Very
Revd Dr Robert MacCarthy, has criticised the Irish government's
approach to the problem of homelessness in the country, after the
death of a former chorister in a doorway close to the gates of the
Dr MacCarthy said on Saturday that the death of Jonathan Corrie,
which drew a government pledge to provide beds for all the homeless
before Christmas, should prompt Church and State to look beyond the
"quick fix" that, he said, would not solve the problem.
Dr MacCarthy, who knew the Corrie family when he was a curate in
Mr Corrie's home city of Kilkenny, recalled that, as a teenager,
the dead man had attended Kilkenny College, and was a choirboy in
St Canice's Cathedral.
He said that Mr Corrie's family had done everything they could
to help him and his then partner; but, as with so many homeless
people, the reasons for their actions and circumstances were
complex, and often went beyond the issue of having a roof over
"Jonathan had plenty of opportunities to get back on the
ladder," Dr MacCarthy said, "but, like so many others, his real
needs were not understood. The only real way to deal with people
who choose to go that way is to provide a dedicated team of social
workers to engage with them."
He said that he did not think the Church of Ireland could have
done more, except look after those who were left behind, including
Mr Corrie's mother, his partner, and her teenage children.
"In addition," he said, "the Church must lend its voice to press
for a sensible, long-term solution . . . in dealing with the
Mr Corrie was cremated on Saturday after a service conducted by
the Dean of Kilkenny, the Very Revd Katharine Poulton.