Charity collects year's supply of sleeping bags from Electric Picnic campsite

A Midlands-based charity is collecting hundreds of sleeping bags from the site of the Electric Picnic festival in Co Laois.

Portlaoise Action to Homelessness (PATH) had appealed to festival attendees for sleeping bags ahead of the event.

They now expect to have a year's supply of sleeping bags and more to give away to other charities carrying out similar work.

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Path volunteer Tom Duffy estimated that PATH collected up to 800 sleeping bags on Monday.

"We are grabbing two-man tents and we fill them with sleeping bags," he explained.

"Yesterday I brought home six, seven, eight hundred sleeping bags."

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The Belfast native was overwhelmed by the positive response from the community in Laois who are helping out.

"I have 150 women in Portlaoise ready to wash them. It is a community response, it is all down to PATH in Portlaoise," he remarked.

Having been contacted by charities in Cork, Dublin and elsewhere, Mr Duffy now plans to donate some of the surplus sleeping bags, but insisted he will only supply organisations who operate on a purely voluntary basis.

"I am going to make sure that PATH has a year's supply of sleeping bags which works out at about 520 sleeping bags," he said.

The additional bags are no use to anyone sitting in his house, he added.

He was delighted with the assistance from local people in his adopted Co Laois.

"It is a total absolute community effort and that's the way it should be," said Mr Duffy, who claimed "our government don't care about people."

Having regularly travelled with PATH to hand out food and provisions to the homeless in Dublin, Mr Duffy said: "There are people starving, there is people dying in this country, it is a national disgrace."

Although suffering with a trapped nerve in his foot, Mr Duffy insisted "we are not leaving here until I can't walk anymore."

This was Mr Duffy's first year at the Stradbally site and he plans to return next year with "an army" of helpers.


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