IT'S a year nearly since Padraic Rocliffe spoke so eloquently and passionately on the Ryan Tubridy radio show on RTÉ about how close he came to death after a car accident he was in when spending some time as a student in America, writes Padraig Burns.
He received some chronic injuries and he had to do all his rehab in the States, which meant he didn't get home for that Christmas which was in December of 2016.
Thankfully, Padraic made a full recovery and he is now back living and completing his studies in University of Limerick.
However, before he did get home he spent that Christmas Day of 2016 alone and while he was on his way to a restaurant for some dinner he ended up talking to a homeless mother and daughter who were outside the restaurant. After a while he invited them to join him inside the diner and he discovered that the woman and her daughter were homeless because she had lost her job and she was unable to keep up the repayments on the mortgage.
Eventually, when Padraic did get back home to Ireland he arrived in the middle of the housing and homeless crisis.
While all of this was going on around him he kept thinking about the mother and daughter that he had spent Christmas Day with some months previously. They were living on the streets and in hostels for the same reasons that so many were doing the same in Ireland.
Grateful for surviving his accident and being in a position to pick up his life from where he left it before he travelled to America, Padraic did what most of us wouldn't do. He stopped talking about the issues and started to do something about it and he set up the Shine a Light organisation. It's been a remarkable success story and proves once again that Irish people are a remarkably generous race of people.
SAL does what it says on the tin and a few times every year it brings some light and joy into the lives of the homeless, mainly on the streets of Dublin. Padraic, and all the volunteers that he has along with him, set up donation points in Dublin, Limerick and Mayo where the public can give whatever they feel may be of benefit to those who have no permanent home to live in. Everything that is donated is then brought to Dublin and distributed to the various centres that are set up around the city for the homeless.
This year's event will take place on Sunday, December 15, and the meeting point will be The Spire at 1.30 p.m.
Padraic Rocliffe can be contacted at (085) 7362563. Padraic can also be emailed at email@example.com.
* Read Padraig Burns' Under the Clock column in our print edition, in shops every Tuesday