Thousands gather at Dublin protest calling for action on 'housing emergency'

Mary Lou McDonald said the Government is 'out of time' on the issue of homelessness

Thousands gather at Dublin protest calling for action on 'housing emergency'

Image: Andrew Lowth

Updated 15.00

Organisers of today’s homelessness march in Dublin say it is time for action when it comes to dealing with the issue.

Thousands gathered at the Garden of Remembrance in the capital this afternoon, before beginning their march towards the Customs House and City Hall.

The National Homeless and Housing Coalition - the umbrella group behind the demonstration - is calling on the Government to put clear plans in place.

The coalition includes groups including the Peter McVerry trust, Focus Ireland, the Simon Communities, a host of trade unions and several political parties.

Today's protest comes after recent figures show almost 10,000 people are currently homeless.

The Department of Housing says there were 6,052 adults and 3,755 children living in emergency accommodation in February.

'Housing is a human right'

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald says the Government isn't doing enough to get people into housing.

She observed: "So far what we've seen from Leo Varadkar and Eoghan Murphy is an idea that they can sit back and just hope that things get better. That's not working.

"You can see people here today... the message is housing is a human right. The message also is that we're in a housing emergency, and the message to Government is wake up and smell the coffee."

Speaking earlier, founder and president of Focus Ireland Sister Stan Kennedy said they want to send a clear message to the Government with today's march.

She observed: "We want to end homelessness... we want to end long-term homelessness... we want them to recognise the right to housing, and the right to a home.

"We want clear answer from them as to what their strategy is, and what their timeline is... and we will then stick them to that timeline."

Demonstration

The National Homeless and Housing Coalition says it is demanding a number of actions - including a minimum of 10,000 public homes a year, an end to evictions, and for the Government to declare the housing and homelessness crisis as an emergency.

Speaking ahead of the march, Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said: "The coalition march is an opportunity for those worst affected by homelessness to show those in power that enough is enough.

"The homeless sector is in turmoil and we must react."