Homeless crisis will get worse before improving, says Murphy

Minister denies there is Government strategy to downplay housing market problems

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the Government was fully aware of the scale of the difficulties it faces in housing crisis. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the Government was fully aware of the scale of the difficulties it faces in housing crisis. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The crisis in homelessness will get worse before it will get better, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has indicated.

Mr Murphy denied there was a Government strategy to downplay the problems in the housing market.

The Minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Damien English have been criticised for their comments on the situation over the past week.

However, Mr Murphy told RTÉ’s The Week In Politics the Government was fully aware of the scale of the difficulties it faces.

“The need will continue to increase because our population is growing, faster than anywhere else in Europe, ” he said.

“We are dealing with a legacy of a massive under investment in house building. The policies are working, we are going to build more houses next year. Certain things will get worse before it gets better like in homelessness.”

The Taoiseach and Mr Murphy have been criticised for claiming Ireland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness when compared with international standards.

Labour spokeswoman on housing Jan O’Sullivan said the rhetoric from Government was disturbing, while Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen claimed it was a deliberate attempt to undermine the crisis.

The Minister for Housing was also asked about comments by Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.

Ms Gleeson had said volunteer groups handing out food and clothing on the streets to long-term homeless people were not helping them.

Responding, Mr Murphy said those assisting the homeless were doing so out of their better nature.

However, he said there was a need for better co-ordination between charities operating in this area.