Outside Custom House.
Where an “emergency housing summit” is taking place in which the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will meet CEOs of the local authorities across Ireland and their housing personnel.
And further to the Department of Housing releasing figures yesterday which show 8,160 homeless people – more than a third of whom are children – were living in emergency accommodation in the last week of July.
Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, a voluntary group which has been helping homeless people in Dublin for the past four years, confronted Mr Murphy.
From their exchange:
Anthony Flynn: “We’ve looked for several meetings with you.”
Eoghan Murphy: “We have a huge amount of people…”
Talk over each other
Flynn: “We understand that. But ou’re bringing the CEOs in here today. The people who are actually on the ground, doing the work on a nightly basis, that are looking at these people that are dying on our streets. We’ve had five deaths in less than a week and your office has failed to communicate to us, with regard to…hang on, let me finish.”
Murphy: “Yeah, sorry.”
Flynn: “Not only the work that we’re doing for the last four years on the streets but the My Name Is campaign has travelled this country in regards to child homelessness and the unprecedented levels of child homelessness that are happening at the moment. And yet we haven’t had the respect of a reply from your office.”
“Your predecessor Simon Coveney would meet me in the Gresham Hotel on a weekly basis to discuss issues in regards to homelessness, yet your office couldn’t do that.”
“Now we’re here today, you’re calling in the CEOs of the local council. We’ve heard from the Housing SPC chair that the council haven’t got the money to build, that your department is not releasing that money to build housing, ok.”
“Now social housing can’t be built because the CEOs haven’t got a mandate because they haven’t got money.”
“So if they haven’t got the money, how are they expected to build. This meeting today could be a waste of time in our opinion if the CEOs are not being given the money from your department.”
“Your department have consistently relied on the voluntary housing bodies, the voluntary housing bodies to build and look for money from Europe to build because your department doesn’t want to have to take that money.”
“Or Paschal Donoghue doesn’t want to have to take that money down because it affects your GDP and it affects the market.”
Murphy: “Can I respond? There’s not a problem with funding at all. This year we’re going to build four times as many social houses that we built in 2015 and we have more money to re-prioritise that into social housing as well.
“The local authorities have to work with the housing bodies to actually build new houses and that’s what we want to do. Hold on, I’m here talking to you now and I’ll talk to anyone about the issue but I’m working on this every day.”
“It’s a top priority for the Government and you need to understand that.”
“The reason the local authority chiefs are coming in today is because I’m funding them directly and they’re directly responsible to me. We’re building social housing and dealing with this crisis and that’s what we’re talking about today.”
Previously: How Many?
Via Sean Defoe
How many is that exactly?
Inside the summit…
Sean Defoe tweetz:
And the award for best prop at a photocall goes to Paul Murphy and Solidarity’s elephant in the room about homelessness.
Pics via Sean Defoe