Father McVerry responds to Joan Burton's comment that he isn't "familiar" with her department schemes

During the Leaders' Debate, she said: "I don't think Fr Peter is familiar with what we do."

Father McVerry responds to Joan Burton's comment that he isn't "familiar" with her department schemes

Father Peter McVerry. Image: RollingNews.ie

Last night, the four main party leaders took to the TV3 stage in association with Newstalk for the first Leaders' Debate of the General Election.

During a debate on housing, Minister Joan Burton stated that she was unsure if Fr Peter McVerry was aware of some of the services her department provides for homeless families. She said: "I don't think Fr Peter is familiar with what we do."

Father McVerry spoke to Newstalk Lunchtime this afternoon about her comments and stated: "It's certainly true that I'm not an insider so they're not informing me of everything they do. I do see the results of what they do.

"The reality is, that in the last 12 months, an extra 645 individuals are using emergency homeless accommodation and in the last year, an extra two families a day were becoming homeless, almost all evicted from the private rental sector because they were unable to pay the rent because the rent supplement was so low.

"Every single agency working with homeless people... have all been calling for an increase in rent supplement to avoid families being evicted from the private rented sector and it's falling on deaf ears.

"Now there is a scheme whereby an individual family can apply to the department, and that's what the Minister was referring to, but the majority of families that we encounter have never heard of that scheme and they only learn about it after they have become homeless.

"There are a lot of families who are falling through the net."

You can listen to his interview here:

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