Housing Minister: "People shouldn’t be dying on the streets"

Eoghan Murphy has again said a "huge amount is being done but clearly more is needed"

Housing Minister: "People shouldn’t be dying on the streets"

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Housing Minister has said "people shouldn’t be dying on the streets", and said the Government is doing "intensive work" to try and tackle the homelessness crisis.

Eoghan Murphy was speaking following the deaths of three homeless people in recent days.

A 30-year-old woman was discovered in a tent at Gilabbey Park in Cork at around 2am on Friday morning, and later pronounced dead.

It followed the deaths of 'Jack' Watson in Dublin and a woman in Kildare earlier this week.

Minister Murphy said recent days have been very difficult for the families involved and the emergency homeless services.

He observed: "Some people have difficulties in their lives that require our assistance and our support, beyond simple shelter or housing needs.

"Sometimes, no matter what we do, it won’t be enough. But people shouldn’t be dying on the streets. People deserve more dignity than that."

Again acknowledging that the country is facing a homelessness crisis, he explained that he will bring together the chief executives of all local authorities for an emergency summit in the coming days.

He says the summit is aimed at 'better joining up our response', and to explore new options for dealing with the crisis.

He explained: "Neither resources nor money nor ideology are an impediment here. A huge amount is being done but clearly more is needed."

He also noted that the shortage of housing remains a problem, and says he is currently finalising a review of the Government's housing programme 'Rebuilding Ireland'.

Anthony Flynn of the Inner City Helping Homeless Group said the crisis is a 'national emergency'.

Mr Flynn said in a statement: "The negative impact on people experiencing homelessness cannot be ignored any longer and the situation needs to be examined as a whole before there are more deaths.

"We are heading towards winter now so how many more people will need to die before the government come to the table with genuine intent to fix this crisis."

The latest figures, released on Friday, showed 99 families with 214 children became newly homeless in Dublin alone in July - the highest number recorded since January 2016.