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Fermanagh GAA stars rough it for homeless

Back row from left, Andrew Breslin, Cathal McGarry, Declan McGarry and Sean Corrigan. Front row from left Marita McDonald, Shauna Hamilton, Sarah Britton and Courteney Murphy

 
SEVERAL Fermanagh players were part of the GAA community which joined together and braved the wintery conditions for the Gaelic Voices for Change solidarity sleep-out. 
On Saturday night, members of Fermanagh ladies and hurlers took part in the 12 hour sleep-out to raise awareness of the homeless crisis in Ireland and raised over €200,000. 
Marita McDonald, who plays for the All Ireland winning Fermanagh ladies team took part in the sleep-out in Belfast, and described it as a ‘sombre’ experience.
“We started off with handing out teas, coffees and hot meals at the Cornmarket. There was also some entertainment and speakers from Gaelic Voices for Change as well as the Simon Community. 
“The volunteers carried out bucket collections across the city, and stopped to speak to the homeless, handing out thermal packs and sleeping bags to those less fortunate. Around 11pm the group moved over to Bedford House to begin our sleep out. All of us left on Sunday morning sombre, and with a greater awareness of the issues and the daily struggles homeless people have to go through. I for one was more aware and thankful for the things I have in my life, and the place I have to call home.”
The sleep-out took part in 12 towns and cities with over 300 GAA players taking part to generate solidarity, funds, and awareness of the homeless crisis. All funds raised will go to homeless charities north and south including the Peter McVerry Trust, the Welcome Organisation and the Simon Communities. 
The highlight of the event for Fermanagh’s McDonald was being able to sleep among the homeless people, and meeting a man called Michael. 
“He was such a lovely, genuine person. Circumstances went against him and he is now on the streets. He was excited about starting a new job in McDonalds and was hoping that this would result in him being able to get some money together and get off the streets. He made a lasting impression on anyone he came in contact with, and I really hope that Michael, and all those other homeless people get the support they need, the accommodation they so greatly crave and the life that everyone has the right to,” said Marita.
The group of over 300 GAA representatives have raised a massive €200,000 and the donation lines are still open. Visit www.gaelicvoicesforchange.com for more information. 
 
 

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