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A member of the public passing a mural on Camden Row, Dublin, highlighting homelessness Leah Farrell/Rolling News
department of housing

Child homelessness rises 35% during Eoghan Murphy's first year in office

There were a record 9,872 people in emergency accommodation in June.

LATEST FIGURES FROM the Department of Housing show a record number of people in Ireland were homeless in June, the end of Eoghan Murphy’s first full year in office.

According to the Department, 9,872 people were in emergency accommodation during the week of 18-24 June, an increase of 26 people compared with the previous month.

The figure includes 6,048 adults and 3,824 children, with a rise of 28 adults and two fewer children accessing emergency accommodation compared with May.

It is the third consecutive month in which the figure has risen, following a decrease in March when the Department removed a number of people from its figures after it claimed to have “erroneously” overstated previous numbers.

Homeless 1 The total number of homeless adults in June 2018 Department of Housing Department of Housing

It also means that the total number has risen by 24% since June 2017, when Eoghan Murphy was named Housing Minister and 7,941 people were recorded as homeless.

Since then, child homelessness has increased by 35% from 2,895, while the number of homeless adults has risen by 20% from 5,046.

Homelessness increased in all but one of the nine regions measured by the Department over the same period.

Dublin showed the biggest increase in homelessness over Murphy’s first year in office, with 1,266 more people in emergency accommodation than in June 2017.

Only the North-West region, which recorded nine fewer homeless people, showed a decrease on the June 2017 figure.

Homeless 2 The total number of homeless families and children during June 2018 Department of Housing Department of Housing

Speaking about the latest monthly figures, the Minister said any increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation was “unwelcome”, but said it was “good to see a decrease” in the number of homeless children.

He added: “The increase from May to June 2018 was 26. For the corresponding period in 2017, we saw an increase of 242 adults and dependents so the change is much better when compared to last year.”

However, Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin hit out at the figure, saying Murphy has been “reluctant to take measures to keep people in their homes”.

He added: “The Government cannot continue to wring its hands and host summits when there are practical measures that can be taken to alleviate the crisis.”

Homeless charities also criticised the announcement, with Focus Ireland saying the total should not be seen as “normal” or used to justify a ‘business as usual’ response.

The charity’s CEO, Pat Dennigan said: “We must never allow the constantly rising number of people becoming homeless each month to become the norm and there is a real risk that this is starting to happen.”

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said homeless services were “in turmoil”, and hit out at Murphy for welcoming the month-on-month reduction of two children as “a victory”.

He said: “The housing crisis is getting worse and has done so under Eoghan Murphy’s watch. His plan has failed, Government policy has failed.

“We have more homeless [people] than we ever had before in the history of the State with no indication of the problem alleviating any time soon.”

With additional reporting from Hayley Halpin.

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