Tag Archives: Homelessness

Meanwhile…

Uncanny.

Previously: The Doors

From top: Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

In the Dáil, during Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fail’s deputy leader Dara Calleary raised the latest homelessness figures with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

During his contribution, Mr Calleary mentioned an interview the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s gave RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning in which Mr Murphy accused journalist Bryan Dobson of speaking from an “ideological” position when the broadcaster asked the politician about the Government’s record on housing and homelessness.

Mr Calleary asked Mr Coveney to “finally ‘fess up” and admit the Government’s housing plan Rebuilding Ireland – launched when Mr Coveney was Minister for Housing in 2016 – is not working.

Mr Coveney said nobody is denying the facts and the figures of homelessness in Ireland, and the emotion attached to the same, before going on to cite Rebuilding Ireland figures.

He then said:

“The truth is, deputy, we are listening to others in this house and, indeed, experts outside it. Rebuilding Ireland was always a policy initiative that would change, depending on where the pressures and demands were coming from and that is what it’s doing.

“But if you look at the number of people that we are taking out of homeless right now, it’s a higher figure than ever before.

“If you look at the number of social houses that are being delivered, it’s higher than at any point in the last decade.

The truth is there are more families and individuals coming into homelessness now than I think anyone in this house predicted.”

Mr Calleary told Mr Coveney his response was the same response he gave in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Mr Coveney said there is work to be done but the Government has “changed the housing market in Ireland” with rent pressure zones and increasing the powers of the Residential Tenancies Board.

He also said Rebuilding Ireland was a five-year housing plan and the Government is only three years into it.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty also raised the homelessness figures and also raised Minister Murphy’s interview on Morning Ireland.

He called on the Government to support a bill proposed by Sinn Fein TD Eoin O’Broin – aimed at preventing buy-to-let landlords from evicting tenants.

Mr Coveney said:

The truth is that this State is not the only one facing this challenge. Last year, almost 20,000 households approached housing bodies in Northern Ireland because they consider themselves homeless… and solutions have to be found there as well as here. This is a challenge that many countries are facing.”

Mr Coveney also insisted Mr O Broin’s bill will not work “legally or in practical terms”.

Watch back here

Last weekend’s Sunday Business Post

Mark Hilliard, in The Irish Times, reports:

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan will face a vote calling for his resignation following incendiary remarks he made on homelessness in the capital.

A motion seeking support among city councillors will be raised at its meeting next month.

It follows an interview Mr Keegan gave to the Sunday Business Post in which he suggested homeless people may be reluctant to leave services in Dublin because these services are of high quality and are an “attractive” option.

…Workers Party councillor Éilis Ryan, who filed the motion, said she and others had called for his resignation and she has “put those calls on a formal basis”.

“Keegan’s claim that Dublin’s homeless services are ‘attracting’ people into homelessness has shored up unfounded rumours that homeless families are lazy, greedy or both,” she said in a statement.

Owen Keegan faces vote calling for him to resign (Mark Hilliard, The Irish Times)

City Council chief: good homeless services in Dublin create demand for them (Owen Keegan, Roisin Burke, Sunday Business Post, February 17, 2019)

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald recalled the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy saying yesterday that, because of the “cold snap” and the current cold weather initiative being in place, there’s an emergency bed available for everyone who needs one.

She then went on to say Inner City Helping Homeless outreach volunteers found there were no beds available for 86 homeless people in Dublin last night at 11.30pm and they subsequently slept rough.

She added:

“Not alone that but people have contacted my office this morning say that those who were in hostels last night were turfed out first thing this morning, into the cold, and are now sitting around, in tents, near Heuston Station.”

Mr Murphy responded:

I think we do have to be careful, addressing this situation at the moment with the cold weather initiative, that is in place, that we make sure that the information that we are getting is accurate.

“We work with a number of NGO partner organisations to make sure that in these types of events, when there is severe cold weather, that outreach group teams from all of the organisations are out and working with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive to get people into safe, secure accommodation.

“Over the course of the last number of months, we’ve been putting in place an additional 200 permanent new beds into the system, plus 150 emergency beds as well.

“And the outreach teams are out to get people into accommodation and no one will be turned away.

“And also when we have the cold weather initiative in place, people aren’t just being turfed out onto the street. We have to be mindful of the fact thatit’s a very cold period and we have to make sure that people are being protected in that period and we do that with our partner organisations in the NGO sectors. The cold weather initiative will remain in place as we go through this cold snap…”

Anyone?

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Early this morning, just after midnight.

At a homeless hostel in Dublin.

Lee, who is currently homeless, tweetz:

“I got a ‘bed’ in the end tonight and as I have been given a warning for posting on Twitter already I wont be mentioning names of hostels as I suspect I’m barred for posting about another one. A few pillow donations wouldnt go a miss. Bad enough like 20 in one room on the floors.”

And, Lee adds:

Meanwhile…

On RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live last night.

Conor Skehan, the former chairman of the Housing Agency, was asked if he has an “issue” with the characterisation of the present homeless situation in Ireland as a “crisis”.

[The most recent figures from the Department of Housing show there were a record 9,968 people using emergency accommodation in Ireland in the final week of November]

Mr Skehan said:

“Housing is always going to be one of society’s pinch points and we can continue to allow ourselves, and the media, to be goaded into a situation of recognising any human need that’s unmet as a crisis.

“I’ve been trying for years to try to get them [the Government] to recognise and normalise the situation and getting dogs’ abuse for doing so.

“….we continuously allow ourselves to be goaded by people involved in advocacy which many others feel to be called ‘lobbying’ into trying to ignore the fact that we have equivalent levels of homelessness which is an incredible human tragedy to every other major country in Europe.”

Asked if that makes it right and if it’s normal to not have a place to live, Mr Skehan said:

It’s normal. It’s normal. It’s normal in the sense that human beings go through many different issues and emotional upheavals in their lives but there are particular ones that are equivalent of, we just talked about social media a minute ago – click bait – the ultimate emotional click bait that can be stimulated in another human being to say that somebody is without shelter.

“And it makes us vulnerable to emotional manipulation by that click bait, repeatedly pressing that point.”

“And you can open up a career for yourself in politics, you can open up a career for yourself in advocacy by pressing this button over and over again.”

Mr Skehan went on to claim the Government gives €152million a year to charities involved in homelessness. He said:

“The measure of a society is not that homelessness does not happen, the measure of the quality of the society we live in, is the speed with which we recognise, identify and rectify that situation. That’s the measure.

“But by trying to distort ourselves that we are, some how or other, as a Government, not doing anything about this or not doing enough about it, or not doing as much as can be done – that’s what’s causing resources to go to the wrong place.

“That’s what’s causing us to have a country that spends €152million of your money, every year, on charities that deal with homelessness. €152million  that could be spent on those people themselves. €152million of your money that’s being spent on their pension schemes,  and their premises.

“Have you seen the size of the main charity dealing with, Focus’s office building, up the top of Christchurch, have you seen the size? Their four-storey building?

“…Go and have a look, all of you. Go and have a look and then be outraged. Don’t be outraged with me.”

Anyone?

Watch back in full here

UPDATE: