Press Release

“As our homeless are at their most vulnerable, all funding for our nurse has been ended.” – Merchants Quay Ireland launches nursing appeal

“As our homeless are at their most vulnerable, all funding for our nurse has been ended.” – Merchants Quay Ireland launches nursing appeal


Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homeless and addiction charity, has today launched an urgent appeal aimed at securing funding for a third nurse.

In addition to hot meals and showers, healthcare is a key service provided by MQI for people who are homeless, with over 3,000 nursing appointments availed of last year alone. Often, the MQI nursing staff are the only people a client will get to have a conversation with that day, and this has grown increasingly common during the COVID-19 crisis.

The charity said that demand for nursing services always increases during winter, but with the looming threat of coronavirus, nurses are needed now more than ever and MQI urgently need to grow the team in order to meet this demand.

The nursing service has remained fully operational throughout lockdown, and has swiftly adapted to HSE guidelines, introducing new triage measures, safety measures and PPE, however the number of people the nursing team has been able to treat is down 37% compared to this time last year, due to the time that is spent each day making sure the nursing stations are compliant with COVID regulations.

Merchants Quay Ireland CEO Paula Byrne said:

“Throughout COVID, our nursing team have inspired us all with their compassion and courage in helping clients to get through this crisis; a time in which people without homes are struggling to get any other face-to-face support. The humanity and kindness shown by the nursing team is a beacon of hope for clients who find themselves with no other place to turn.”

MQI Head of Recovery Services Mark Kennedy said:

“Our nursing team are working Trojan hours day after day, to help all those in need, but they have been facing the added time constraints of adhering to COVID-related restrictions and measures, meaning that the number of clients they have been able to treat has dropped. Now they’re facing into winter with a diminished staff.

Your support is truly urgent. People are coming to us in worse shape than ever, so we need to keep the team together.”

Shane, a Merchants Quay Ireland client, said:

“Not long ago I was sleeping rough and a college girl got robbed. I jumped out of my sleeping bag and got her stuff back, but I was injured. Nurse Marguerite dressed my wounds and she told me, ‘Make sure you keep it clean no matter what.’ She gave me the supplies. She will do anything for anyone. Honest to God, she’s brilliant. I might be filthy but thanks to her I had what I needed, that wound was always clean, and it’s healed now. If I couldn’t come to the nurses here, I don’t know what I’d do.”

You can help support MQI’s work by going to


– ENDS –

For more information, please contact:

Laura McDowell

Communications Co-Ordinator

Merchants Quay Ireland

M: 086 7793 206





Twitter: @MerchantsQuayIR


About Merchants Quay Ireland

Merchants Quay Ireland is the national charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, residential treatment, detox, and prison counselling. MQI has continued to provide a full meal service as well as nursing, GP, and harm reduction services to clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


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