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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 19 May, 2019

Enda Kenny says there's no reason why anyone should be sleeping rough this Christmas

Today is one year Jonathan Corrie died near Leinster House.

The issue of homelessness dominated leaders questions today.
The issue of homelessness dominated leaders questions today.
Image: Oireachtas/Screengrab

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY says he doesn’t see any reason why someone would be sleeping rough in Dublin, or any city, this Christmas.

Speaking in the Dáil on the anniversary of the death of Jonathan Corrie, Kenny said people needed to differentiate between the issues of homelessness and rough sleeping.

“You shouldn’t confuse the issue of rough sleepers on the street and the issue of homelessness in general,” he told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. “There is a difference in the situation on the streets.”

The Taoiseach said he recently visited a new temporary shelter at Dublin’s Digital Hub in which he said there were “150 beds in pristine quarters”.

“The intervention by the city council in this particular instance is to be commended and should mean that there are no rough sleepers on the streets of Dublin this Christmas,” Kenny said.

Now I can’t speak, Deputy Martin, for every individual person, some of them want to be on the streets and are in very particular circumstances.

The Taoiseach returned to stress the point later on and reiterated that the facilities are there for people who are sleeping rough.

“In respect of the people who sleep rough on the streets,” he told the Dáil.

“A great deal of effort has gone into it, and I don’t see any reason why the facilities and the opportunity that’s available now will mean that anybody should be on the streets of any city this winter and I hope that’s not the case.”

The government’s record on housing was criticised by both opposition leaders Micheal Martin and Gerry Adams.

“Those on the streets are very clear about one thing, the homeless crisis has deepened and has actually gotten worse since the sad death of Jonathan Corrie, ” Martin said.

The Sinn Féin leader said that he’s caused “chaos” in the lives of families who’d been made homeless. ”Your policy is not to build social housing,” he added.

Read: “You wonder – why are you on the street?”: Pat Kenny spent a night examining the homelessness crisis >

Read: Meet the woman trying to bring Christmas to homeless people >

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Rónán Duffy

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