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6 DUBLIN CITY Gazette 14 April 2016



Church set to re-open as a new distillery  Aisling Kennedy

The old St James’ Church on James Street, Dublin 8, is set to re-open next spring as a new distillery, called the Pearse Lyons Distillery. The historic church was purchased by Irishborn billionaire Dr Pearse Lyons in December 2013, following its deconsecration 55 years previously in 1961. Dr Lyons and his wife, Deirdre, who are both founders of animal nutrition giant Alltech, are currently renovating and rebuilding the property. One of the main features of the renovated church is a glass spire comprising eight stainless steel rafters coming together at the top. It is held together with handwelded intersections and weighs almost 10 tonnes. The spire has recently been set in place on top of the building to replace the old church spire.

Structure Elsewhere in the property, the roof tiles have been replaced with new slate tiles and the stone columns, originally imported from the city Caen in Normandy, have been restored to resemble the original structure. Dr Lyons said: “We are thrilled by the latest addition to our family, in the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling district. The Pearse Lyons Distillery and visitors centre will showcase the rich history of distilling in Dublin’s Liberties. “Visitors will have the opportunity to feel, taste, see, smell and learn about the process of distilling Irish whiskey and take home some of their very own to share the story with their family and friends.”

Young homeless mother Erica Fleming (inset) gave politicians at Dail Eireann a speech on the homelessness crisis that’s worsening across the country; however, not all parties were represented at her impassioned talk

crisis | campaigner disappointed ff, fg, lab not present

Big parties absent at Erica’s Dail speech on homelessness  aisling kennedy

YO U N G h o m e l e s s mother Erica Fleming, who is quickly becoming the face of homelessness in Dublin, gave an impassioned speech about the affect homelessness is having on herself and her nineyear-old daughter, Emily, at a specially convened meeting in Dail Eireann last week. A video of her talk was posted onto social media later that day and it has so far received almost 30,000 views. Erica, who works part time but is currently living in emergency accommodation, sat beside Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Cllr

Daithi Doolan (SF) as she spoke about her wish for all parties in the Government to set aside their differences and come together to find a solution to the homelessness crisis. Erica spoke to The Gazette this week and said: “A lot of different parties came to hear me talk – Sinn Fein, AAA, People Before Profit Alliance, and some Independents. “Everybody that was in the room that day agreed that political differences needed to be put aside to tackle the homelessness crisis. I was very happy with that response.” Missing at the talk on the day, however, were representatives of Fine

Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, all of whom received an invitation to attend the meeting, according to Erica. “I bumped into Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin in the Dail bar following my talk and I asked him if he would meet me on another date to discuss the crisis. “I gave him my number and he said that his secretary would give me a call in the next few days.” Mr Martin followed up on his promise by meeting the campaigner for homelessness yesterday ( Wednesday) where Erica impressed on him the importance of all parties accepting the plight of the people


‘A lot of different parties came to hear me talk ... Everybody that was in the room that day agreed that political differences needed to be put aside to tackle the homelessness crisis. I was very happy with that response.’


Erica Fleming, homeless mother


without homes. She also gave him a first-hand account of what it is like to be homeless in Dublin. The Gazette had earlier contacted Deputy Martin for a response, and a spokesperson said: “Deputy Micheal Martin’s office is in the proc-

ess of trying to arrange a meeting with Ms Fleming and we hope that arrangements can be made shortly. “Fianna Fail outlined a series of policy proposals prior to the general election aimed at addressing the homelessness crisis. Ending the crisis is one

of four key priorities contained in the Fianna Fail general election manifesto.” M e a nw h i l e , E r i c a is planning to hold a second protest march on Sunday, April 24, to highlight the ongoing crisis. She told The Gazette: “I will be holding the protest march on the actual commemoration date of the 1916 Easter Rising. A number of other homelessness charity groups are also holding separate protests to highlight the crisis on the same day, too. “My protest will begin at 2pm outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, and everyone is welcome to attend.”

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