Limerick woman looks to spread some warmth with coat rail project

Daniel Keating

Reporter:

Daniel Keating

The coat rail which is located at Arthur's Quay Park

The coat rail which is located at Arthur's Quay Park

A LIMERICK woman has taken action to help the homeless by erecting a clothing rail of donated coats on Arthur’s Quay.

Audrey Ryan from Corbally decided to put up the sheltered coat rack stand near the park with the help of friends Ray O’Halloran and Martin Quinn.

The shelter, which is  located beside Chez le Fab and is overseen by Ms Ryan, allows people to donate coats to vulnerable people. Those people who then need a coat can then take one. 

“It all started last winter, when I was in town with my husband and kids, I saw a guy begging and he had no coat on him,” said Audrey.

“I asked where his coat was because it was freezing out and he said it was stolen,” she exclaimed.

After seeing a similar idea in London, Ms Ryan decided to look for a shelter to erect the clothing rack in the city. 

“I contacted many TDs in the town and not one of them was offering to help me, while I was searching for a sheltered area to store the coats. I went everywhere, even into churches, so I decided to take action myself,” she explained.

Ms Ryan called the Council’s Planning office and told them that she was erecting a sheltered coat rack at Arthur’s Quay.

“I also contacted the gardai, who were delighted, and my friend Ray O’Halloran from Limerick City Build and his staff filled the rail for me. I also want to thank Optel group in Raheen for supporting it,” she said.

The shelter was built by her friends Mr O’Halloran and Mr Quinn and the covering was obtained from the tarpaulin factory in the Tait Centre which was donated for free, she added.

According to Ms Ryan the rack has been in place for just over week a half now and it has been so successful that people are now leaving coats on the ground because it is so full.

This has resulted in her bringing the coats home to be dried, so they can be returned for use.

“The reaction has been great, but I would like to point out if the rail is full, don’t leave the coats in a bag on the wet ground; put them back in your boot and keep then for the next day,” she said.

Ms Ryan is also the founder of #Decoratedonate, an initiative created last year to raise money for Novas, a homeless charity operating a service in the city.

The initiative involves posting a picture of your Christmas tree using the hashtag as well as sending a text to 50300 to donate €4 to Novas.