1,000 young children are homeless this Christmas

Focus Ireland says three out of five homeless kids are under the age of 8

Newstalk, Focus Ireland, Christmas, homeless, emergency accommodation, The Irish Times, children

Focus Ireland released their 2014 Annual Report last September - pictured is Founder and Life President of Sr Stanislaus Kennedy. Photograph: Photocall Ireland

The Environment Minister Alan Kelly says it is unacceptable that there are 1,000 children under the age of eight who are homeless.

He was responding to preliminary figures from Focus Ireland, which reveal that three out of five homeless children are under eight.

A total of 1,500 children were in emergency accommodation last month - a 98% increase on last year's figures.

Focus Ireland is carrying out an analysis on the age profile of these children.

Preliminary findings show that three out of five - or 1,000 - of them are under the age of eight.

A further 20% are aged between nine and 12.

According to The Irish Times, the vast majority of these children are in Dublin.

Focus Ireland - which is the lead statutory agency working with homeless families in Dublin - will publish the full findings of its research next month.

Minister Kelly says the long-awaited modular housing will be in place next month to help manage the supply of homes for people.

But he has acknowledged on Newstalk Breakfast that the current figures on homelessness are unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Focus Ireland has defended Mr Kelly's efforts to tackle the homeless crisis.

Mike Allen is the charity's director of advocacy.