“That’s The Life Of Nearly 4,000 Children Like Sam”


From top: *Sam eating from a cardboard sheet on Grafton Street on Tuesday night; Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty; Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil today

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éireann.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty raised the picture of a five-year-old boy *Sam (not his real name) eating a pasta dinner given to him by a homeless charity while kneeling on a piece of cardboard on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Just over two weeks ago, the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showed there were 10,345 people (6,490 adults and 3,848 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of August.

The figure represent a decrease of seven adults but an increase of 70 children compared to the figures for the final week of July. 

This afternoon, Mr Doherty addressed Tánaiste Simon Coveney when he said:

“The photograph showed a five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city.

“Sam is the boy in that photograph, he’s five years old. He goes to school like any other child but Sam is homeless.

“Sam and his mum live in emergency accommodation like thousands of other families in this state.

“The Homeless Street Café, the homeless group, who met Sam on Tuesday night, made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home-cooked meals for her children

“But, like so many parents of the homeless children of this state, they live in emergency accommodation that strictly forbids them from cooking meals for their children.

“That is Sam’s life, Tánaiste. Without a home, without the comfort and security which should be a right for every children [sic] in this State.

“That’s the life of nearly 4,000 children like Sam that have been condemned to this type of nightmare.

“There is only one place our children should be on a Tuesday night. And that is safely tucked up in their beds, in their home, with their families.

“The moral stain of child homelessness in Ireland is creating a lost generation. Children who are having their childhood stolen from them, right before our eyes.

“Stunting their development, harming their education, exposing them to hardships that no child deserves and that no society should accept.

“Behind the statistics, Tánaiste, the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, there is a stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.

“A crisis that your government has manufactured, a crisis that many are profiting from, from the suffering of others.

“We’ve over 10,000 people recorded as homeless at the end of August of this year.

“That’s the seventh month in a row where we have those figures recorded – a 365 per cent increase during a five-year period of unending, uninterrupted, economic growth.

“And these figures don’t even provide the full picture, Tánaiste, they don’t include the women and children living in domestic violence shelters, funded by Tusla, they don’t include the adults and children living in hostels that aren’t funded by Government departments.

“And they don’t include those still living in Direct Provision, despite having secured their leave to remain.

“This is the Republic that you and your government are building. These are the parents and children you’re failing, children like Sam.

“This is not a republic of opportunity that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

“It is a national shame.”

More to follow.

Earlier: Dear Sam

Yesterday: ‘Sam’

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25 thoughts on ““That’s The Life Of Nearly 4,000 Children Like Sam”

    1. V

      He will in an election
      There’s two hungry Fine Gaelers there up his Ranelagh a55

      And I can promise ye, he’ll not be the better of that skirmish

    2. Col

      I’ve said it before, his poshness is irrelevant.
      His incompetence as housing minister is what should be focused on.

  1. Donal

    We need that general election asap, regardless of brexit, the politicians need to be told to their face daily for 3 weeks that we the people do not think this is good enough. Without the daily canvassing it is easy for them to be insulated from the dissatisfaction that is felt.
    Not that the to be elected fg/ff not-coalition will likely change behaviour
    I dismay at the failure of the Irish electorate to not vote for these goons
    I hope eternally that my pessimism will be proved incorrect

  2. Nullzero

    All the out raged people here need to stop and think about the poor landlords driving mercs over a year old and only managing two skiing holidays one cruise and five impromptu City breaks a year. They’re the real victims here, and fine Gael protect them, long may it continue.

  3. Ron

    Elect incompetent, incapable, inept political daw jaws, expect incompetent and inept decision making from said daw jaw. it’s a well established principle; cause and effect!

    About time the Irish electorate took accountability for the gobdaws they are putting there.

    Broken systems and process can be fixed, but you can’t fix stupid. And until people start to step out of the drama triangle, nothing will change.

    Shame on this disgusting inept Government and shame on the Irish electorate for allowing them to get away with it

    1. Mick

      I’m not having a go, this is a genuine question. We obviously can’t vote for FG/FF/SF/Lab as they’re all complicit in the broken system, so who do we vote for?

      Independents? By their nature, they represent all different sides of the political spectrum, or local issues, and can’t all work together.
      PBP/AAA/SD? They don’t put enough candidates up all around the country to make a difference.
      Don’t vote? But then you can’t have a legitimate complaint about who does get in to power.
      Who’s left?

      1. Liam Deliverance

        It is hugely frustrating, not voting plays in to the hands of FFG also. My argument would be that any politician from any party or indo would do a fine job if the system left no room for them not to do a fine job. If taking office involved signing and committing to a contract of that office, a pre-determined contract based on a mandate, and reneging on that contract meant dismissal we would see vast improvements for all overnight. We don’t have that, we have pre election promises, quickly broken and then 5 years of SFA while minister cabbage takes 100k + a year for SFA .No accountability, it’s an effed up way to do things.

      2. Jeffrey

        The solution, like the one proposed in France is the RIC (Referendum Initiative Populaire) + Citizen’s parlement. The first one means that every big decision on laws are put to the people and the second means the government is made up of random citizen selected randomly and changed on a regular basis. This way no political party comes in to it, only the will of the people. Oh and if the people picked randomly act badly they can be removed immediately.

        1. Cian

          Sounds interesting.

          How does the last part work? “if the people picked randomly act badly they can be removed immediately” and can this be abused to remove the “wrong sort of people”?

  4. A Person

    How many homes have the left delivered? They were in power in DCC for 5 years – during the housing crisis. A former Labour minister led protests in Clontarf against a housing development. The solution is not the electoral, but delivering sustainable housing in appropriate areas i.e. in the city, close to public transport etc. Yet the leftist keyboard gobshees will blame FG / FF, but deliver nowt. Nothing, but invective bs.

    1. Donal

      You know all about the limitations on the ability of DCC (as an organisation) to do anything not sanctioned by central government?
      You know all about the limitations on the ability of DCC (the elected council) to tell the council executive to do whatever they decree?

      If not go do some research and come back to us, thanks

      1. Rob_G

        When Pearse Doherty’s party was the biggest party on the council, they voted to reduce LPT by the highest possible amount on two seperate occasions. Thereby making themselves ever more reliant on the central government. So it’s difficult to see Doherty’s speech as anything other than grandstanding.

        1. V


          The Shinners had a golden opportunity
          for five years in fact
          to get several thousand houses out of the ground

          They chose to grandstand on populist votes and play to the gallery, seek mayoral office and expenses topping up gigs, fillibluster debates
          and abstain their votes when ever they could

          Their collapse at Local Level was no accident or consequence to the Green Party having a good run

          They did Eff All meaningful work

          Although in fairness, they weren’t the only ones
          I’m looking at ye PbP and the taggles of Solidarity this that and the others
          Fillblustering Shouty Ranters.

          Like they could have held up votes to Lower LPT with just one show of hands that would take them less than 30 seconds of physical exertion
          Nah not a bit of it

          But I should thank them
          They’ve saved me a few quid
          While putting another few more onto the value of the gaff

      1. A Person

        I worked in DCC, I work for a homeless charity. I have a degree and masters in housing. I think I am qualified. DCC are the richest council in the country. To say that they can’t deliver housing is a nonsense. In eany event homelessness is much more complicated than a pic. The usual warriors jump up and down withe this opportunity, but deliver nothing.

        MOF can eff right off with his personal, immature, faux republican based, attacks on me. Did they kick you out of SF yet?

          1. A Person

            I am not on the right. I just can’t stand grand standing nonsense from key board warriors who have delivered nothing. Take a pic, shout from the roof tops, demand change, but deliver nowt. Protest, hurl from the ditch, but get into power and do something – God no, that’s too much work.

          2. Man On Fire

            A Person spouting nonsense to deflect from his consistent support for failed FG policies.

            A Person is a contrarion of the highest order.

            He consistently appears to malign any parties on the left or SF who have never been in government and have not directly contributed to the homeless crisis.

          3. dav

            Fair enough, can you advise me when the last time the left were in power in this country, because I think that might have an impact on your “how many houses they have delivered” question.

    2. Portroegirl

      NEWSFLASH: It is Governments that run the country with policies, legislation,etc through the different Government Departments including the Housing Department, not the ‘left'(not counting Labour!)LAs need Ministerial approval for any expenditure over €1m,I believe!
      From 2011-2016 total housing stock only increased by 0.4%(8,800) despite increased population of 170,000 people.There was barely social housing built despite ever growing numbers of people on social housing lists,(at least 160,000 people)eg just 75 houses built in 2015.
      Ireland’s population is estimated to rise to 1.7m higher in 30 years,how will they be housed?!
      Social housing was mainly privatised through HAP.Unfortunately only 6% of private rented accommodation is within HAP thresholds plus majority of families becoming homeless after losing their private rented accommodation.Families delay presenting to homeless services by moving in with family or friends.Families in emergency accommodation have very stressful experiences eg no cooking facilities,no privacy,have to vacate during day(highlighted during Storm Orphilia when families allowed to stay and not vacate during day,take several buses to schools,etc but more worryingly several Reports have highlighted devastating effects of homelessness on children including their development and mental health! Despite all these Reports and warnings there has been no emergency response from Government!This is a modern scandal in Ireland in the 21st century,and not the only one.

  5. Bort

    I understand the housing crisis, I volunteer for a street homeless charity, I pay sky high rent. I have genuine anxiety about having to move out of my accommodation and have to try and find somewhere else I can afford.

    But what responsibility do adults have to house themselves or parents to house their children? Employment is at 70%.

    1. A Person

      @MOF Why on earth do you use the word “man” in your name, as you are clearly immature. You never address the issues, but just spout bs like “shrill”, “right wing” etc. Your’re like teh left on the campus in teh US. If you disagree with them, they just hurl abuse. The left and the shinners were is power in DCC, the richest Council in the country for 5 years. How many houses did they deliver? After the last general election Brid Smith and the shinners stated that they did want go into power as they would be more useful in opposition. i.e. we can’t make a decision as we are inept. Why have the left never been in power….inept, and supported by the likes of you who can’t come up with a coherent argument without name calling.

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