Alice Leahy

Alice Leahy is Director of TRUST, which she co-founded in 1975 and is a non-judgemental, befriending, social and health service for people who are homeless. Former Chairperson of the Sentence Review Group, Alice was recently appointed to the Irish Human Rights Commission and is also a writer, commentator, broadcaster and lecturer, promoting understanding of the needs of the outsider in our society and daily in practical ways to help combat social exclusion. In recognition of the work of TRUST Alice was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from UCD and was also named Tipperary Person of the Year for 2004

Alice - a nurse / midwife - set up the first Intensive Care Unit of its type in Ireland at the request of the Medical Board at the then Royal City of Dublin Hospital in Baggot Street.

Active in the Simon Community for many years before setting up TRUST with others, Alice also served as Assistant Director of Simon Ireland and compiled the REPORT ON MEDICAL CARE FOR THE VAGRANT IN IRELAND in 1974, the first report of its kind published in this country.

Alice recently produced with two others "THE HOMELESS EXPERIENCE" a training module she co-facilitates for voluntary/community and statutory groups in Dublin. She also lectures widely to specialist groups and has directly contributed to public policy as a member of various policy bodies such as the Lord Mayor's Commission on Crime chaired by Justice Michael Moriarty; the Working Party set up by the Minister for Health to look at the care of the disturbed Mentally Ill; and as a member of the National Crime Forum.

Alice co-authored with Anne Dempsey her first book "Not Just a Bed for the Night" in 1995, published by Marino. She also participated in John Quinn's radio series about her experience in education called "My Education" (the interviews for which were later published as the book of the same name.) In addition she has published numerous articles in the national newspapers including The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner and medical and nursing journals.

Alice's most recent book, With Trust in Place - Writing from the Outside, which she edited and compiled on the theme of the outsider has also generated a considerable reaction since its publication in October this year.

Education initiatives on the theme "The Outsider" have been a key part of the way Alice has sought to create awareness of the needs of those TRUST seeks to help on a daily basis. The two most successful in recent times include the Trust National Essay Competition for Transition Year Students on the theme of The Outsider (2000 - 2001) and the Trust National Art Competition for all second level schools on the same theme took place during 2002-2003.

Amongst the various social documentaries Alice has participated in over the years include the critically acclaimed television film - A Fragile City - about people who become homeless and TRUST's non-judgemental approach, which was broadcast on RTE Television recently. This was her second collaboration with Anne Daly, co-founder of Esperanza Productions, with whom she first participated in producing a radio documentary about people who become homeless and which was nominated for the Prix Italia Award.

In addition to recent recognition from UCD and her own county Tipperary, Alice has also accepted a number of other awards over the years and always does so, as she emphasises, on behalf of her colleagues "as the work of TRUST is a real team effort." These other awards have included a Person of the Year Award (1988); Carers Award (1992); Lord Mayor's Award (1993) and an Honorary Fellowship from the Faculty of Nursing, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (1999); and the Belvedere College Justice Award (Nov 2003

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