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Tyrone star set to sleep-out to raise awareness of homelessness

Tyrone GAA star Gemma Begley.

ONE of Tyrone’s top GAA stars has united with more than 150 other players for a sleep-out to help raise awareness about the problem of homelessness.
 
Gemma Begley from Carrickmore is part of the ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’ initiative, which also aims to shine a light on important social issues including the housing crisis, mental health, gambling and racism.
 
She will take part in an all-Ireland solidarity sleep-out on December 16 aimed at drawing attention to the crisis of homelessness in Ireland.
 
A number of venues have been chosen, including Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford and Carlow.
 
The Tyrone Ladies player is intending to take part in the sleep-out in Belfast and says she is hopeful that the GAA and the Gaelic Voices for Change group can help pave the way to a better society.
 
“This is an extremely important issue because there is huge concern that Ireland now has the highest rate of child homelessness in Europe and this is an issue to which we are giving particular attention,” she said.
 
“It’s a widespread problem and what we’re trying to do is raise awareness of the extent of what is happening and try and support the various organisations and charities which are working with those who are homeless.
 
“The interest in the initiative has been excellent so far and there is still an opportunity for current or former players from the four GAA codes to become involved.
 
“The stark reality is that, as so many are homeless and experiencing difficulties at the moment, there are many others who are only two or three missed pay cheques away from being in a similar position.
 
“Through business, I’m in contact with various bodies and agencies in Dublin. Obviously the extent of the homeless problem there is really serious, but it is also very marked in other areas, including in Ulster.”
 
All funds raised from the event will go to registered charities including the Peter McVerry Trust, the Simon Communities, Focus Ireland, Cope Galway, DePaul Ireland and the Capuchin Day Centre.
 
Further information can be obtained on the website gaelicvoicesforchange.com
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