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'Less talk, more action': Thousands take to streets of Dublin calling for end to homeless crisis

The number of homeless children has quintupled in under four years.

Updated 2.39pm

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE took to the streets of Dublin this afternoon calling for an end to the housing and homelessness crisis in Ireland.

With various charities, political parties and activists groups represented under an umbrella group, demonstrators marched from the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, and down O’Connell Street.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie just prior to the march, Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said that the National Housing and Homelessness Coalition wanted to send a “clear message” that “systemic failures” from government had led to the current crisis.

Organisers also suggested that this could be the first of a number of marches urging the government to act decisively to solve the crisis.

Record figures

The country is facing an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis, with latest figures showing close to 10,000 adults and children living in state-funded emergency accommodation in January.

The number of homeless children has quintupled in under four years, while the number of homeless adults has more than doubled.

Opposition politicians and NGO officials have repeatedly criticised the government’s efforts to address the growing issue.

The government and Housing Department – for its part – has said that many people are working hard to reduce the numbers and that some small progress is being made in reducing the number of people who are becoming homeless.

Flynn said that there were 10,000 people in emergency accomodation this week, and these levels of homelessness is just “not acceptable”.

The march had been due to begin at 1pm but didn’t get underway till just before 1.30pm, with crowds stretching around Parnell Square before going down O’Connell Street, crossing the bridge and travelling along the north and south quays of the city.

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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald was one of many politicians in attendance, and told reporters that “time and again, we’ve been told progress has been made and all of the facts on the ground speak to the contrary”.

She accused the government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy of being “in denial”.

“The numbers on the streets today would tell you that the government is out of time on the issue,” McDonald added.

Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha also said that this protest could be the first of many calling on the government to deliver the social housing needed to help alleviate the crisis.

The march had a knock-on effect for traffic in the city, causing delays on many routes in and out of the city, and delays to the Luas and some Dublin Bus services.

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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Sean Murray

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