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Murphy says it was 'irresponsible' to promise to end homelessness

The minister said there will always be people who present as homeless.

Image: Sam Boal

HOUSING MINISTER EOGHAN Murphy has said there “will always be people who will not be able to find shelter on a given night”.

Insisting that there is no backslapping at the Fine Gael National Conference, Murphy said:

“There will always be people whose circumstances, through no fault of their own, means they need the support of community services.

“It might be a one night bed, it might be a six month bed, it might be something longer than that. That’s why we as a government will always have the supports in place,” he told reporters at Fine Gael’s National Conference.”

Murphy hit out against Fine Gael’s former government partners, criticising Labour for previously promising to end homelessness after the death of Jonathan Corrie in December 2014. He said such a promise was “very irresponsible”.

“I remember, I think it was after Jonathan Corrie died, I think the Labour Party committed to ending homelessness by 2016 which I think was very irresponsible at the time because it’s an incredibly complex challenge,” Murphy said.

Former Housing Minister, Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan commented on Twitter after Murphy’s criticism.

“If he reads the plan in his Department he will see that it was to end long-term homelessness, it had specific proposals to achieve that: I believe would have been a lot more effective than Rebuilding Ireland has been,” she said.

Answering a question by TheJournal.ie about the homeless figures going in the wrong direction, Murphy said not all the numbers are going in the wrong direction, stating that the government is building a lot more houses. He added that the latest figures show that more families are exiting emergency accommodation.

“We are going to continue to face a crisis in homelessness. And we are going to continue to face a challenge of large numbers of people in emergency accommodation until we have built thousands and thousands of more homes. That will happen this year. It will happen again next year.”

The homeless emergency accommodation figures for January 2019 show that there are now a combined total of 9,987 people homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland, a significant rise of 234 people from December.

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