In November 2016, Fr. Peter McVerry met with student teachers at the University of Limerick to discuss homelessness in Ireland. His intervention followed student teachers’ analysis of the RTÉ documentary “Peter McVerry: A View from the Basement”, and their discussions on social inequality and the potential for teachers to be agents of change in schools and society. This was conducted as a core part of the PME 1 Module, Becoming a Teacher: Identity and Agency, run by Carmel Hinchion, School of Education, UL.
See below for Fr. Peter’s opening address and for his responses to student teachers’ questions.
Videos of Fr. Peter McVerry:
Ubuntu Network presents, Fr. Peter McVerry, a PME guest speaker on homelessness in Ireland. Fr.Peter McVerry discusses his experiences of working with the homeless in Dublin, Ireland to post graduate and undergraduate ITE student teachers at the University of Limerick. He speaks about the problem of homelessness in Ireland and the role of the teacher to recognise and respond to inequality in the classroom.
You mentioned in your documentary with RTÉ that working with the homeless changed your relationship with God. Was that in a positive way or a negative way? And in what way did it change?
In relation to your work with the homeless and the issues centered around the metal (ha'penny) bridge, you spoke out about the government for the first time within your documentary. Did you notice that there are certain people (within the government) that were either, with you or against you?
There is an incentive package in place for first time buyers again. This is predicted by many to increase housing prices in the short term. Will the government be able to compete against the private sector buyers in the provision of new homes for those most in need through housing schemes and county council schemes and county council schmes if prices increase dramatically?
In the course of your work, you must have witnessed some dramatic scenes and overcome serious challenges. What is it that keeps you going when others give up?
What was your biggest life changing experience? Give an example of both a positive and a challenging life experience.
Homelessness is increasing every year. Can you see a future where homeslessness doesn't exist any more?
With all the work you are doing and with homelessness on the increase, Do you ever feel like giving up?