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Man on a mission to bring Irish poverty ’out of the shadows’

 
A Monaghan dad of three is on a mission to travel Ireland and discover the real life stories behind modern Irish poverty.
Adam Ó Braonáin is hoping to raise enough funding through his crowd funded "Out of the Shadows: Poverty Awareness Project" initiative to publish the stories he unearths in a new book which he promises 'will seek to look at the faces and tell the real stories of modern Irish poverty.'

Ó Braonáin cites his own experiences of poverty as a driving force behind the project.
As a rights advocate he has assisted many individuals and families in combating the symptoms of poverty both in cooperation with other organisations and on a one to one basis. In 2014, for example, he founded a flood relief project to assist the people of Kings Island Limerick after the devastating floods.
Ó Braonáin said it was his own observations of Irish society's growing inability to make the correlation between numbers on a page and the real people behind the statistics which sparked his latest mission.
'This is not a criticism of anyone. It is all relative, we are all struggling in our own way, and our personal problems always seem more troublesome than those of our neighbours, I see this as being part of the human condition.
'This can blind us as a society! It certainly blinkers our vision, and skews our perception of reality. As a result we often fail to see the true reality unfolding in front of us. The stark truth is that for every figure, every statistic, there is a person or a family.'
The Monaghan man points to the death of Jonathan Corrie as an example of this growing disconnect and the moment a number of questions were sparked within him.
'How much would we now know if Jonathan Corrie had not been discovered in a doorway on Molesworth street on our parliaments doorstep?
'What do we really know of the true plight of many of Ireland's homeless community?
'How much do we understand about those facing homelessness through repossession?
'Can we really relate to those who combat suicidal thoughts daily due to financial distress?
'Do we really understand that there are people being forced to fight for a medical card for their disabled child?
'Do we really have any clue about what poverty figures truly represent?'
The father-of-three said that ultimately his proposed journey is an attempt to shine light on these questions and the true impact on individuals and families alike of the recent economic crisis and the budgetary choices that have been made in recent years?
On what can be achieved by his journey and the publication of his book Ó Braonáin merely hopes that what he feels is wider society's growing apathy may be somewhat disturbed.
'There are many organisations doing stellar work on the ground in Ireland daily, without which one shudders to think what the reality may be, but are we allowing the people within these organisations to shoulder to much of the burden while many of us remain somewhat oblivious.
'Poverty may be a symptom of the economic crisis but the ability to close our eyes to the impact poverty has on the individual is more a symptom of a crumbling society and I hope this book may help in some small way to stop that erosion.
'By presenting real people and their stories we can humanise the issue and encourage decision makers to make more ‘human’ centred choices.
Turning to details of the project itself the Monaghan man revealed he intends to travel to all the various regions within the 32 counties of Ireland in search of real-life stories.
He said his journey will be chronicled in written and visual accounts and summarised in an on-line blog series - which will be highlighted on irishexaminer.com if his project is funded successfully - and expanded upon in a not for profit published work in which professionals and academics will be encouraged to offer policy recommendations for future Governments based on the individual accounts.
The Scotstown man said the book itself would cover issues relating to
children, homelessness (long-term and recent), the elderly, families, the working poor and the travelling community but would have real voices at its core.
'The work itself will entail identifying participants whom are willing to share there stories. This will be easiest achieved by working with organisations who currently work with those suffering the effects of poverty and seeking assistance in identifying those who might be most approachable.
'As well as the interviews themselves, I will also be engaging in in-depth research as to the real world impact of the economic crisis and resultant austerity policies on the most vulnerable in society.
'The information collected will be presented to experts who can offer their own opinion on what steps might be taken to alleviate the suffering of those documented.'
Ó Braonáin estimates he will need to raise a minimum of e7,000 to see the project through and has turned to the crowdfunding site kickastarter as his primary money raising tool.
More details of the project - and the ability to contribute - can be found on the Adam's dedicated crowdfunding page.
Ó Braonáin is hoping to publish his book by February next year and start interviews in June of this year and has pledged that any revenues from initial sales will be reinvested back into publishing costs for further runs of the book.
Find out more on Adam's Facebook page.
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