Extra €17m allocation will not address homelessness

Ireland ‘a long, long way from solving homeless crisis’ – Social Justice Ireland

An additional budget allocation of €17 million to address homelessness will not provide the resources required to eliminate what is a "blight on Irish society", Social Justice Ireland has said.

The organisation’s director, Fr Seán Healy, said the allocation, which will bring the total available in 2016 to €70 million, was welcome, but added “Ireland is a long, long way from solving its homeless crisis”.

Fr Healy also said the budget had widened the gap between the rich and the poor.

According to analysis carried out by the advocacy organisation, all household types recorded increases in their disposable income after taxes and welfare payments in the years between 2011 and 2016.


However, it said the gains have been skewed towards those with the highest incomes: at one end of the scale, single-parent households earning €25,000 annually had gained €4.53 a week compared with almost €55 a week for couples with two salaries on an income of €200,000.

Fr Healy said Ireland needed to collect a level of taxation capable of adequately supporting the country’s economic, social and infrastructural requirements and encouraged the Government to increase the tax take to 34.9 per cent of gross domestic product in the coming years.

“Ireland is currently facing major challenges on issues such as health, childcare, housing, homelessness, poverty and rural decline. Budget 2016 will make very little impact on these major issues. Instead, it will widen the poverty gap and deepen divisions in Irish society,” he said.

Limited progress

Although the organisation welcomed an increase of 50 cent an hour in the statutory national minimum wage, it said the new €9.15 rate remained below the living wage of €11.50 per hour. It also criticised the Government’s decision not to increase the minimum social welfare payment from its current level of €188 a week.

It said both the budget and the recent capital investment plan, while welcome, offered only “limited progress” as regards public capital investment.