Look out for homeless citizens plead politicians and clergy, as 'beast from the east' approaches Derry

'Beast from the east.'
'Beast from the east.'

Politicians and clergy have urged people to look out for the homeless and vulnerable during the expected inclement weather projected to freeze Derry over the next few days.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, said: “The weather forecast for the coming days is expected to be exceptionally cold and to include a significant snowfall.

"This bad weather will affect and frighten many people across our country. Some will be afraid because they are alone, elderly, suffer from underlying medical conditions while others will be cold and hungry. They may too proud to admit their vulnerability.

“Parishes are at their strongest when they support their weakest. In the words of Jesus 'whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me' (Matt 25:40).

"Christ spoke of the parable of the Good Samaritan who cared for a stranger. It was enough that he was a person in need for the Samaritan to act – and to follow up afterwards to underpin that care."

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said that no one should be sleeping rough in Derry over this period of severe weather.

She said: “I have spoken with First Housing's Night Support Service and other homeless agencies across the city and have been assured that during this period of extreme bad weather work will continue on the street to identify possible rough sleepers. And arrangements will be put in place to ensure that no one is out sleeping rough.

"Anyone who is homeless should make contact initially with the Housing Executive during office hours or contact one of the many excellent homeless services we have in the City, who will assist them with making appropriate arrangements.

"Thankfully Derry does not have the street homeless issues that other big cities have. Our services work tirelessly every day and night throughout the entire year to ensure that anyone who finds themselves homeless can secure a roof over their head.

"I would like to thank the staff in these services for their commitment and compassion that they show to anyone who finds themselves in this situation."