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Dublin Mayor: It's 'bullsh*t' gardaí can't take in homeless under-18s without social worker

Christy Burke said it’s “unbelievable” that gardaí can’t take in under-18s who are sleeping rough without the presence of a social worker.
Jul 14th 2014, 10:23 AM 13,750 49

THE LORD MAYOR of Dublin has said it is “bullsh*t” that a social worker must be present before gardaí can take in people under the age of 18 who are sleeping rough.

Christy Burke recalled one incident last year where he found a 16-year-old pregnant girl sleeping on the street while out with the Inner City Helping Homeless group (ICHH).

“The cops couldn’t take her off me at 3am in the morning unless there was a social worker there. Did you ever hear such bullshit? … It’s unbelievable.”

Burke said that an on-call social worker was called in that instance. Fortunately, the girl was persuaded to return home.

“Some stories end well and some don’t,” he noted, adding that many people under the age of 18 are “reluctant to give details” as they don’t want gardaí to get involved in their situation.

Last year, Burke also found a 17-year-old pregnant girl sleeping in an industrial bin. This morning he told that he is unsure of her current situation, but hoped she too had returned home.

Today the Herald reported that the 24-year-old pregnant woman found on O’Connell Bridge last month is back on the streets.

Burke could not confirm if this is correct, but called on the woman to contact him if it is.

“Nobody contacted me to find that lady accommodation.”

Emergency accommodation

The mayor said he isn’t sure if the woman in question is in the homeless service system, but added that he would be surprised if she was and hadn’t been given a place to stay.

“If she was, it’s difficult to believe they didn’t give her emergency accommodation – they would have.

If she contacts me any time day or night, I’ll make sure she gets accommodation.

Burke added that he would have an official on standby to deal with the issue.

The girl is pregnant, she has no business being on the streets. If she’s not in the system she won’t get in if they don’t know about her.

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“If someone tells me Mary X or John Y is on the streets and has children or is pregnant, I’ll make it my business to get them accommodation,” Burke remarked.

Last Thursday night, the Inner City Helping Homeless group (ICHH) recorded 177 people sleeping rough or in shelters – a new peak.

At the time, ICHH Director Anthony Flynn said that over the last five or six months, there hasn’t been a single occasion when that number had dropped from the night before.

“Since November, we’ve seen a 100% rise in the figures. People are talking about a tsunami coming in a year, or two years. It’s here. The tsunami has already arrived,” Flynn stated.

Additional reporting: Dan MacGuill

Related: Lord Mayor recalls finding 17-year-old pregnant girl in bin

Read: ‘The homeless tsunami has arrived’ as Dublin numbers reach new high

Related: ‘Hopeless fantasy’: McVerry warns that homelessness will increase by 2016, not be eliminated

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Órla Ryan


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