Family sleeping in Garda station

 

Sir, – Coverage of the Cash family sleeping in Tallaght Garda station in Dublin on Wednesday night has rightfully caused national revulsion, outrage and disbelief at how we have stooped to this rock-bottom level in 2018 (Home News, August 11th).

Eileen Gleeson of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive described the events of that night as “unprecedented”, however in May 2018 a family slept in Ballyfermot Garda station.

In an RTÉ interview on Thursday she contended that had the family waited long enough they would have been sheltered somewhere. If that is the case, then why did several families present to Garda stations on that same night?

Margaret Cash possibly made a crisis decision to bring her six children aged one to 11 to a place she perceived as safer than a communal setting, or the street.

I hope that this story will not be quickly forgotten in the fast-moving news cycle but will jolt us into action at last.

Gardaí are to be commended for their humanity in a situation which should not be a part of normal policing duties.

Our much-lauded economic recovery is utterly fake and shallow if we cannot care for our child citizens in need. In political discourse it is often contended that voters make decisions based on the money in their pocket.

I hope that we are better than that and we need to ask our representatives and candidates at the next local and national elections to act in our name to solve this appalling crisis for once and for all.

As the children of Ireland prepare to go back to school we cannot collectively accept that so many of them are without a home.

This cannot be our new normal, and we need to act, speak and vote accordingly and show our mettle in making the housing and homeless crisis a top and urgent economic and moral priority in this State. – Yours, etc,

SAMANTHA LONG,

Walkinstown,

Dublin 12.

A chara, – In light of the Government’s continued inability to deal with the problems of homelessness (“Homeless children spend night on chairs in Tallaght Garda station”, Home News, August 9th), is it perhaps time for Fianna Fáil to pull the plug on the confidence-and-supply arrangement?

If the ensuing general election produces similar results to the last one, might Fianna Fáil – perhaps under a new leader – be persuaded to enter a “grand coalition”?

Maintaining the status quo is not tenable. – Is mise,

GREG SCANLON,

Shannon,

Co Clare.

Sir, – The homeless crisis is a symptom of a much more widespread and dangerous malady in our country today: low wages.

There are jobs, but many of the jobs are so badly paid that people can’t survive on them.

Many low-paid workers are subsidised by taxpayers, and their employers can make big profits, and pay dividends to rich investors on the back of others.

But this problem is not being addressed by Government or commercial interests.

The power seems to be in the hands of employers who have great influence, and they can exert it on the basis that they are “providing jobs”.

But if the jobs can’t sustain the employee, never mind their families, or enable an employee to be able to afford a home, what benefit is that job to anyone, other than the employer? It is ultimately a liability on the taxpayer.

The continuous lowering of wages, together with developing technology which causes job losses in many sectors, is an alarming trend, a dangerous road.

It’s time for the Government to do something about it. – Yours, etc,

SHEILA DEEGAN,

Dublin 3.

Sir, – I sincerely hope Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gets the opportunity to raise the clerical abuse issue when he meets Pope Francis.

He may also wish to mention the State abuse of children who are left to sleep in Garda stations. – Yours, etc,

JOHNNY CLARKE,

Killiney,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – We have a homelessness crisis. The State is struggling to house many of its families. The problem did not sprout from the ground yesterday.

In fact, most of the bad seeds were planted during “the boom” when the State passed the buck and developers were allowed to deem the construction of public housing optional.

Emergencies are grist to the mill of “market forces”. Our homelessness crisis is a bonanza for the private commercial hotel sector. The State is shovelling money into that sector on an ad hoc basis like a headless chicken.

A hotel room is not a home. It is no place to put a young family. More than anything a family needs space and privacy.

We’ve an awful lot of unused institutional buildings in this country which are structurally sound, heatable and lightable, etc, where families in an emergency situation could have space and privacy – Mum and Dad in a different bedroom to the kids – a table and chairs in another room for the homework and the dinner. Saorview is free, Wifi is easily affordable when it is “grouped” for a given location on a group contract.

In aggregate, surely this would be better than families packed in one room above the “spa and swimming pool” in a hotel?

I would invite your readers to identify the multitude of sound, unused, unoccupied institutional buildings in the country where homeless families could be housed with the requisites of space and privacy.

As things stand, the State is a turkey getting plucked, huge sums of money are being wasted, and the “solution” being “purchased” is no solution at all. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL DEASY,

Carrigart,

Co Donegal.