Quay to Recovery

Quay to recovery 1

Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI) is one of Dublin’s great charity success stories. In 1969, Salvador Kenney and Sebastian Tighe, two Franciscan Friars, established a tea room for the city’s homeless, laying down the groundwork for what would become the MQI of today.

MQI’s head of fundraising, Denisa Casement spoke to NewsFour about how the organisation grew in the wake of the 80s drug epidemic. “The friars began to realise a lot of the chronic homelessness was related to addiction and mental health issues,” she tells us. “One of the fathers, Sean Cassin, obtained a degree in addiction studies and opened a rehab centre at the Merchant’s Quay site.”

In 1989, Cassin started the Merchant’s Quay Project and, two years later it was granted charitable status. Though it had been established as a voluntary project, the increasing demand required professional staff to be hired. The first employee was Tony Geoghegan, who today is the CEO of MQI.

Casement tells NewsFour that MQI served over 80,000 meals to those in need last year and expects the number to reach 100,000 by the end of this year. The other services provided by the charity include a needle exchange and drug free counselling across Ireland’s prisons. A doctor is onsite twice a week with a dentist available four days a week.

Two thirds of MQI’s budget comes from government funding but Casement tells NewsFour that the amount they receive is being cut each year and so public donations are increasingly crucial. Realising people are reluctant to part with money in the current climate, MQI ask that you consider the charity when having your will drawn up. “Once you’ve taken care of family and friends, perhaps think about leaving us a small donation,” Casement says.

To make it easier for you to have a will drawn up, MQI have teamed up with a range of solicitors including Emer O’Sullivan, who operates out of Arran Quay. O’Sullivan told NewsFour she was impressed by the work of MQI, calling it a “very solid and reliable organisation which provides a good support structure for those in need of such assistance”.

For more information, visit www.mqi.ie or call 01 5240160. Emer O’Sullivan can be contacted on 01 8874027.

Above: An MQI chef at work preparing meals.

By Eric Hillis