A Fianna Fáil Senator has said he has been forced to sleep in his car because it is “impossible” to get a hotel room in Dublin.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Roscommon Senator Eugene Murphy said he has slept in his car twice in the recent months.
He said he knows of a number of other Oireachtas politicians who have dealt with the same problem in recent times.
“In recent months, on two occasions, I just found it impossible to get a bed in a Dublin hotel despite exhaustive attempts by myself and my PA to do so,” he said.
“I was left with no option but to travel back to Roscommon. I found on the trip down - it is pretty late at night when I’m finished - that I was overcome with tiredness.
“I would pull in at the forecourt of the filling station in Mullingar and basically sleep until morning and then do a turnaround back into Dublin and have a quick shower and change of clothes in Leinster House
“So look, it is just something that has happened in recent times and something really that hasn’t happened before.”
He said his Oireachtas colleagues are reluctant to speak publicly about the issue as they are aware that there are people all around the country in ‘dreadful situations’ when it comes to housing.
“We don’t want to be talking about it and whinging about it but it is just the fact it’s happening at the moment and it is a difficult situation, particularly for rural Oireachtas people,” he said.
He said the war in Ukraine is just one part of the scenario, with a major increase in tourists and businesspeople also increasing demand.
“Look, some of it is linked to the war in Ukraine,” he said.
“There are people here but I don’t want to blame those people and it would be wrong to blame them, but it would appear, from the research I have done, that there are a lot of people booking into hotels, in terms of tourists and in terms of business people.
“There are a lot of businesspeople from abroad coming into Dublin doing business.
“You engage with people in hotels and you will find out that most of them are actually engaged in business or tourists.”
He said last Tuesday night was the first night he was able to get a room in Dublin three weeks.
“You know, some of those hotels - I came into the Oireachtas in 2016 - I would be dealing with some of those hotels on a weekly or fortnightly basis and yes, you were almost nearly guaranteed your room every week there in the past but now it’s just not there,” he said.
“It is just impossible to get a room.”
Earlier, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the issue was not a “widespread phenomenon” in the Oireachtas.