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Homeless figures top 10,000 for the first time ever

The number of homeless people in Ireland has topped 10,000 for the first time on record. Accordin...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

18.07 27 Mar 2019


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Homeless figures top 10,000 fo...

Homeless figures top 10,000 for the first time ever

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

18.07 27 Mar 2019


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The number of homeless people in Ireland has topped 10,000 for the first time on record.

According to the latest Government figures, there were 10,264 people accessing emergency accommodation in the State in February.

The figures include 3,784 children and 6,480 adults.

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It means 277 people - including 160 children - have entered homelessness since the last count.

"Systemic failure"

Following the announcement, the Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said the figures were the "result of systemic failure from Government on housing policy."

“I think over 10,000 homeless is political suicide for the minister now at this stage and I think the minister really needs to re-evaluate his position,” he said.

“The sheer lack of housing builds and implementation of a proper housing policy from the Government has led to systemic failure and more and more families becoming homeless on a monthly basis.

“An extra 160 children becoming homeless in just one month is totally unacceptable.”

"Hugely disappointing"

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the latest increase is "hugely disappointing."

"I am in constant contact with local authorities and am working with them to help move families out of emergency accommodation and into sustainable housing solutions," said Minister Murphy.

"As well as the increased supply of social housing, HAP will continue to play a vital role in providing families with a place to live until supply catches up.

"We will continue to work with families to demonstrate the benefits of this scheme over emergency accommodation."

Rebuilding Ireland

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the Government can no longer claim that their housing policy is working” and called on the minister to scrap Rebuilding Ireland.

“In the eight years since Fine Gael took office there has been an increase of 490% in the number of homeless children - up from 641 in 2011.”

“Minister Murphy has called the latest figures ‘hugely disappointing.’

“He cannot in one breath call the figures disappointing and then claim that that Rebuilding Ireland is working, when it is clearly not.”

He also took aim at Fianna Fáil for supporting the Government through its confidence and supply arrangement.

“It should be remembered that Sinn Féin put down a motion of no confidence in Minister Murphy, and he is only in his position because Fianna Fáil failed to support it,” he said.

Emergency legislation

The Labour Party housing spokesperson Jan O'Sullivan called for emergency legislation to introduce rent caps and close eviction loopholes.

“The Government can push through emergency laws on fishing in a week but can’t take the time to tackle this national crisis," she said.

“The last two months have shown that the Government is not on top of this, and the problem is getting worse.

“There appears to be no end in sight, and three years into this government the volume of social housing that is needed has not been delivered, nor is there any sign of it coming.”

Policy

Minister Murphy said he believes Government policy "is working" and said that was "borne out by the most recent build figures."

The Department of Housing figures, published in February showed that more than 4,000 social homes were built in 2018.

The rate of building was 4% below the target the Government set for itself. Opposition parties suggested the target was set too low in the first place.

The rate of construction last year was 85% higher than in 2017.

Minister Murphy said rents in Ireland are falling and said he will bring further rental sector reforms – including new protections like longer eviction notice periods – to Cabinet in the coming days.


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