“They Repeatedly Sought To Downplay, Dismiss Or Deny”


Dublin city centre yesterday

This afternoon.

Further to last night’s RTÉ Investigates documentary on rough sleepers in Dublin city…

…Cian O’Callaghan writes:

“The RTÉ investigates programme exposed a homeless support system that is badly broken. We need urgent and radical reform. We cannot tolerate a situation where people are sleeping rough because they have been denied access to emergency accommodation. We have to eliminate homelessness in Ireland.

“I have been raising the issue around the use of the local connection rule with the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Housing since last November. They repeatedly sought to downplay, dismiss or deny that people were being turned away from emergency accommodation while beds lay empty. Last night’s programme categorically proves that they were wrong.

“The Government is clearly out of touch on this issue. The comments from the Minister for Housing that no-one should be denied emergency accommodation fall far short of what is needed – he must directly instruct local authorities to stop turning homeless people away.

“I have deep concerns about the conditions in private homeless hostels. There is a catalogue of failures. Some hostels have inhumane rules that state ‘Guests are not allowed to stop for a chat..’. Others are excluding people for minor infringements of unfair rules.

“Staff in some homeless hostels lack even basic training. In other cases, they are not even Garda vetted. It is not clear that these private providers are subject to the national quality standards for homeless services. Inspection reports are never published.

“The increased use of for-profit, private accommodation providers, without support services, is deeply problematic. The cost of this model of service provision is also concerning. Professor Eoin Sullivan of Trinity College has estimated that it costs €35,000-€40,000 per person to keep someone in emergency accommodation. This is shocking given the low standards. Much better value for money and much better outcomes can be achieved by providing someone with a long-term secure home of their own.

“For every day that it continues, the homelessness crisis is destroying lives. Addiction issues can start or deepen after someone becomes homeless. Life expectancy falls. Mental health issues are compounded. It does not have to be like this.

“Homelessness isn’t inevitable. It is a direct result of the decisions made by the Government. The solution to the crisis is clear – build social and affordable homes for those that need them. Re-direct the resources that are put into private providers of emergency hostels into long-term secure accommodation for people who have become homeless. Provide supports where they are needed.

“All that is required is the political will and ambition on the part of Government. I’m calling on the Government to begin by making a clear commitment to eliminate homelessness in Ireland.”

Cian O’Callaghan  is the Social Democrats Housing spokesperson and a TD for Dublin Bay North.


Yesterday: Out In The Cold

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5 thoughts on ““They Repeatedly Sought To Downplay, Dismiss Or Deny”

  1. Broadbag

    Disband the countless homeless ”charities” who are stepping on each other’s toes doing similar or identical work but draining resources for multiple duplicate employees, CEOs, accountants, cleaners, rent, electricity, heat, employees, employee PRSI…massive wastage across the board, bring it all back under one govt agency and use the savings to push forward with more Housing First initiatives and to clean up/sort out the hostels, time and again it comes up that people don’t feel safe in the hostels and yet they continue to hoover up funds, if the will and the funding was there to do it properly there must be a way to organise the hostels so people feel safer.

    1. Jdawgs

      Couldn’t agree with you more. I have my own issues with some of these charities but I know so many do great work for some that need it badly and some that abuse it as well. A lot boils down to addiction problems. There are multiple different homeless charities in Dublin with a lot of marketing departments and wasted use of funds. This entire issue needs an over haul. Not just by the council/state/government. It will never been a solved problem but people who really need help should not get lost in the system thats pandering to to many issues.

  2. millie bobby brownie

    The way that poor man from Carlow was spoken to on the phone was awful. A basic level of respect for your fellow man is clearly not a requirement for the job.

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