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'Deeply shocking': Housing Minister slammed as number of homeless people passes 10,000 for first time

That’s according to the emergency accommodation figures for February.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Mar 2019

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy has been heavily criticised after figures for February show that there are now more than 10,000 people in Ireland officially living in emergency accommodation. 

The homeless emergency accommodation figures show that there are now a combined total of 10,264 people homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland, a significant rise of 277 people from January.

The numbers taken over the course of one week in February show that there were 6,480 adults and 3,784 homeless children living in emergency accommodation in the State. 

This is an increase of 117 adults and 160 children living in emergency accommodation. 

The number of homeless families living in emergency accommodation rose by 93 last month. 

The overall increase brings the combined total to 10,264, breaking the symbolic figure of 10,000 people. 

Commenting on the figures, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the increase in the figures is “hugely disappointing”. 

“I am in constant contact with local authorities and am working with them to help move families out of emergency accommodation and into sustainable housing solutions,” Murphy said.

“As well as the increased supply of social housing, HAP will continue to play a vital role in providing families with a place to live until supply catches up. We will continue to work with families to demonstrate the benefits of this scheme over emergency accommodation.”

‘Shameful and saddening’

The government has come in for criticism from non-governmental organisations and opposition figures for the latest rise in homeless numbers. 

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has heavily criticised Murphy over February’s figures.

“These figures while not a surprise are deeply shocking,” Ó Broin told 

Leo Varadkar and Eoghan Murphy can no longer claim that Rebuilding Ireland is working.

“It is completely failing and they need to accept defeat and work with the opposition to put in place a different plan,” he said.

Rebuilding Ireland is the government’s housing action plan. 

Ó Broin’s comments were echoed by Labour housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan TD who has said the figures are “just another reminder of how unfit for purpose Rebuilding Ireland has become”. 

“The last two months have shown that the Government is not on top of this, and the problem is getting worse,” O’Sullivan said.

There appears to be no end in sight, and three years into this government the volume of social housing that is needed has not been delivered, nor is there any sign of it coming.

Anthony Flynn – CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless – has also slammed Murphy over the latest figures.

“Month on month we are seeing more and more families and children become homeless. 160 children becoming homeless in a single month is a result of complete systemic failure on the government and Minister Murphy’s part,” Flynn said. 

He said that a “full reevaluation” of homeless services is required. 

“Government policy has and is failing and now is the time for the Minister to consider and the Taoiseach to intervene in this crisis.”

Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesperson Darragh O’Brien called today’s figures “a shameful and saddening example of failed Government policy”. 

There have been flashy launches with hard hats and photo opportunities however the facts speak for themselves. Not enough is being done to bring homeless numbers down.

He said Eoghan Murphy should be doing his best to bring these figures down, not “commenting on them to express his disappointment when they are announced”.

“These new figures won’t give any hope to the 10,264, comprising of families and children, who are living in homelessness tonight,” O’Brien said. 

Solidarity TD and Oireachtas Housing Committee member Mick Barry has suggested that the Raise The Roof National housing demonstration on 18 May to be built into a massive anti-Government protest.

“No Government which allows homelessness to go over the 10,000 mark deserves to remain in power,” Barry said, adding that Fine Gael needs “to be given a hammering at the ballot box in May”. 

With reporting from Adam Daly 

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