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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Charity calls on Housing Minister to meet homeless people tonight; she declines

The Inner City Helping Homeless group has urged Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan to ‘open her eyes’ and reconsider turning down their offer of meeting homeless people tonight.

A HOMELESS CHARITY has urged Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan to reconsider turning down their offer of accompanying them on their outreach service tonight.

Yesterday, Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) publicly called on O’Sullivan to come with them and meet homeless people on the streets of Dublin.

The Minister sent an email last night, declining the offer and saying she visits homeless services “regularly”.

“In my work as Minister and as a public representative, I regularly visit services, and am acutely aware of the situation in which people who are experiencing homelessness find themselves.

O’Sullivan added that she was “not in a position to participate this week”, but did not state if she would attend in the future.

“I am very anxious that everything is done to put all available resources behind the problem of helping homeless people out of their situation, of which sleeping rough is the most extreme manifestation.

“In doing so, it is critical that there is no duplication of effort and that every euro we have, and every hour of people’s time is put to the best possible use,” she wrote.

Different worlds

Anthony Flynn, Director of ICHH, said he did not accept O’Sullivan’s “stance that she see exactly what goes on”.

It’s a totally different world on Dublin’s streets from 12 am ’til 6 am. Jan’s 9-5 position is totally different.

Flynn said that ICHH counted 134 people sleeping rough in the city last night, up from 123 people last Wednesday.

The group came across a 24-year-old pregnant woman and her partner on Store St.
Flynn said that the couple, who have been homeless for months, had no sleeping bag.

He added that they would be meeting with Parkgate Hall today to see if they can get short-term emergency accommodation.

‘Ridiculous’

Echoing Fr Peter McVerry’s comments yesterday, Flynn said that the government’s plan to end homelessness by 2016 was “ridiculous”. He said he expects to see “double the figures” of people sleeping on the streets in three years time.

Flynn added that Cathal Morgan, Director of the Dublin Homeless Agency, had agreed to come out with ICHH on their outreach service, and noted that new Lord Mayor Christy Burke goes out with them every week.

The only way that the minister and the government will see the truth is to go out onto the street themselves. I would urge her to make herself available … Jan needs to open her eyes.

In the email O’Sullivan said that she was “delighted” ICHH had “joined the fight against homelessness and would be happy to help the group become “fully intergrated” into the network of homeless organisations in Dublin.

“There are, as you are aware, a number of organisations working in this area, and their efforts are coordinated through a variety of means, including the Dublin Regional Homelessness Executive, and other partnerships.

“I would very much like to see everyone working together, so that we are maximising our efforts. Accordingly, I would be happy to have my office contact the relevant organisations to ensure that ICHH be fully integrated into the overall effort to end homelessness.”

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

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

Read: 154 people slept rough in Dublin last night and here’s what councils are doing about it

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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