Homeless youths to lose their boarding as rooms are let to Welsh rugby fans


FOURTEEN homeless teenagers will move out of an Eastern Health Board home when the Irish rugby team plays Wales at Lansdowne Road on March 2nd - because their rooms have been let to Welsh fans.

The Parkview House bed and breakfast on Dublin's North Circular Road, was rented by the EHB from the start of the year as an emergency residential unit for adolescents in need of immediate care. However the 14 en suite bedrooms, each with piped television, had already been let to Scottish and Welsh rugby fans for this year's two home internationals.

"The EHB honoured this arrangement," a spokeswoman said. "There was only one child in the home for the January match [against Scotland] and the board made alternative arrangements for her. For the March match, the board has organised a holiday weekend in the country for the children from the centre."

The spokeswoman insisted the EHB had known of this arrangement before the B & B was rented. B & B signs outside the premises would be removed following the Ireland Wales match, she added.

Two sources told The Irish Times that teenagers who were moved into the premises by the EHB went out of control, forcing the abandonment of the project. The project "was never abandoned", said the EHB. "A number of the children who avail of this type of service have a history of difficult behaviour, resulting in previous placement breakdown. Some initial difficulties were experienced but these have been overcome."

The "difficulties" seem to have forced the relocation, at least temporarily, of some of the teenagers. As the EHB statement points out, there was only one teenager in residence coming up to the January rugby international.

"At that time the unit was sealed down to enable staff to participate in in service training programmes and to develop policies and procedures," it says.

On the positive side the EHB says the renting of the premises is, among the measures which have enabled it to eliminate the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless children.

It may appear paradoxical that's this has been achieved by renting an entire B & B but, says the EHB, "the residential unit is staffed by 10 child care workers with professional qualifications/experience, who are employed by the Eastern Health Board".

The board added: "Under the terms of the contract with the owner, the board has the exclusive: use of the entire premises for the 12 month period. The owner provides accommodation and food and the board provides the care staff. A number of beds in the centre are reserved for children who present to the board as out of home during nights and weekends."

Other measures being taken by the EHB to eliminate the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless children include an increase in residential places and more placements of children with foster parents and carers.