McClean hailed a ‘true gent’

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A Derry homeless campaigner has praised the big-hearted Creggan footballer James McClean after he put six rough sleepers up in a local hotel.

Bridget Donegan, of the ‘Northwest Equality crisis campaign for the homeless’, a social media page set up to help provide food and clothing to homeless people, described the former Derry City footballer as a “true gentleman”.

She was speaking after the Republic of Ireland and Stoke City winger paid for food and digs for six people who otherwise would have had to spend the night on the cold, damp streets of Derry.

“It was such a relief for the team of ‘Northwest Equality crisis campaign for the homeless’ when we learned that the true Derry gentleman James McClean and his lovely wife Erin had paid for a hotel and food for the poor homeless men in our city,” said Ms. Dongan.

“If everyone could take a step back and strip away the stigma and see the conditions these men live in on quilts and sleeping bags that weigh a ton due to rain water.

“One wee man on Thursday night was so cold and wet. He did a wee note telling us all he wanted was to go home since August 2014 but he has no passport,” she said.

The soccer star, outlining his reasons for taking action on his social media feeds, said: “No one in this day and age should be homeless. I choose to help these people regardless if they are Romanian, Irish, African or whatever. That shouldn’t matter.”

Ms. Donegan said: “What James McClean has done has made a huge difference to these men. We spoke to two of them on Sunday through our translator. They are so thankful we hardly recognised them after they had a wash and clean clothes.”

The ‘Northwest Equality crisis campaign for the homeless’ can be contacted at: