Children in homeless services up 62 per cent in Dublin area, Dáil told

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan says children not in natural family environment

Maureen O’Sullivan: issues around safety

Maureen O’Sullivan: issues around safety

 

There had been a 62 per cent increase in the number of children in homeless services in the Dublin region since June, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan told the Dáil.

She warned that decades from now there would be reports, inquiries and commissions dealing with the way children in homeless and direct provision accommodation were treated now.

“Neither set of children is living in a natural family environment,’’ Ms O’Sullivan said. “There are issues around safety, living in confined spaces, and food, given the fact that the children are reliant on fast food with high fat content levels.’’

She said there was no space to play and there was a lack of stability, as the children were being moved from one homeless accommodation to another.

“More displacement is expected because we are approaching the high tourism season,’’ Ms O’Sullivan added.

She said there were also issues with schools, given that children must either travel long distances to their original schools or move elsewhere.

“One can imagine a child entering a new school, being asked where he or she lives and replying that it is in a bed-and-breakfast or hotel down the road,’’ she added. “There is a stigma.’’

Ms O’Sullivan warned that severe psychological, emotional and personal developmental difficulties were being stored up for the children involved.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Government was committed to probably the largest ever investment in social housing because most of the families referred to saw it as the solution.

She said councils had been given allocations and she wanted to see them working on the programme as soon as possible.

Ms Burton added that the number of voided properties, for which councils were given funding, should result in an extra 1,000 units this year.