‘No spat’ between Dublin councils and Eoghan Murphy
Department and local authorities ‘need to do more’ on emergency housing, says English
‘I couldn’t wait for this day to come’: Svetlana Jankuniene and her daughter Patricija in their new home in Clonsilla, which was provided to them by Fingal County Council and Co-Operative Housing Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Mr English said the Department of Housing and local authorities both “need to do more” to provide additional emergency accommodation, particularly family hubs which have been developed with a view to taking people out of hotel and B&B accommodation.
Family hubs are accommodation provided for homeless families as an alternative to hotel or bed and breakfast rooms, and most include kitchen and recreational areas, as well as support services.
In recent days Mr Murphy asked the chief executives of the four Dublin local authorities to ramp up the number of family hubs provided in their areas.
The Minister set the local authorities targets to meet by the end of the year, and threatened to use emergency powers to transfer responsibility for providing emergency accommodation to his department if they were not met.
“We want to see more family hubs. The public out there who want to see more houses are not interested in spats, it’s all of us working together here,” Mr English said.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin had earlier submitted a motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy, which will be debated in the Dáil on September 25th. Mr Ó Broin said Mr Murphy was “out of touch and out of his depth”, and that he was not willing to accept “that his policies are failing”.
Mr Murphy said the motion was an attempt by Sinn Féin to “garner attention and headlines” and that it was “totally devoid of solutions and will not take a single person off our streets, out of emergency accommodation or into a permanent home. The stunt offers nothing constructive”.
Half of the 33 homes in Clonsilla were allocated to individuals and families who have been homeless.
Svetlana Jakuniene (36) was one of those moving into the estate, with her husband and daughter Patricija (nine). The family came to Ireland from Latvia in 2004, and had been renting a two-bed home in Clonee for the last seven years.
“We are on the [housing] waiting list for 10 years. In June we got a letter to say we were nominated for this accommodation. I am excited, I am very happy, I couldn’t wait for this day to come,” she said.
Ms Jakuniene’s husband has been out of work for three years due to an injury, and receives an invalidity pension.
“Because of his condition he is not able to do anything anymore at the moment, hopefully it will improve,” she said. “People are very kind here, they come to you and want to know your name, I hope it stays like a nice community.”