Wednesday, October 08, 2008

'Pal' lives on in the news

John O'Connor, known locally as Pal, keeps making news after his death on 27 September (see previous post & comments). Today's lead letter in The Sydney Morning Herald is from an ex-prison officer who tells how our jails are used as welfare accommodation by many. He says Pal might still be alive if he had been imprisoned and he calls for part of the prison budget to be reallocated for basic shelter for homeless and mentally ill people. Are you listening, Premier Rees?

PS: (9 October) Pal's funeral at St Canices is reported in The Sydney Morning Herald here.

PPS: (10 October) Another Herald story today (looks like a major re-edit of yesterday's -- thanks to a commenter for the link)

Note the 13-year-old runaway line. My info is that Pal was diagnosed as schizophenic at age 13 and kicked out by his parents. It's from a good source but it's still only hearsay.

PPPS: (11 October) Adele Horin opines in the SMH about a 'homes-first' approach to helping people like Pal. An anonymous commenter on the Todd O'Connor story above finds it all "nauseating and hypocritical." I have asked for clarification.

PPPPS: (14 October) Yet another letter to the editor about Pal, this one from people who were with him when he died.

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