‘War-footing’ required to deal with homelessness, Dáil hears

Construction sector must step up to the mark, says Taoiseach

Homeless man sleeping on Kildare Street, Dublin. There has been a 60 per cent rise in homelessness. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Homeless man sleeping on Kildare Street, Dublin. There has been a 60 per cent rise in homelessness. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 01:00



A family of four has been living in a Dublin hotel since November because they cannot afford the increased rent demanded by their landlord, the Dáil has heard.

Independent TD Joan Collins raised the case as she highlighted the 60 per cent rise in homelessness. The Dublin South Central TD said rents in Dublin 8 had risen 10 per cent in the last three months alone and renting a house in Drimnagh cost €1,200 monthly. There was a need to go on a “war-footing” to deal with homelessness.

Sleeping bags
She said accommodation shelters were full, and homeless young men were being given sleeping bags to sleep on the street. While spending on housing in 2008 was €1.4 billion, that had been reduced to €300 million annually.

However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said almost 100,000 houses were built during the Celtic Tiger when 25,000 to 30,000 were needed. “Today 7,000 or 8,000 houses are being provided when we need 25,000 to 30,000.”

He would be bringing in all the agencies to discuss the matter. It was a question of renovating derelict units for homeless people and families. “The construction sector must step up to the mark.”

Mr Kenny highlighted the case of a man photographed before Christmas who had been homeless for 10 years. Given the extent of public funding for agencies, “I just do not understand how that can be”.

He said there was “not much time left” to meet the Government’s commitment to end long-term homelessness by 2015, but “this is a fuse that has been burning for quite a number of years”.