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If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it. asked the Taoiseach about Ireland's homeless figures at the second day of the Fine Gael conference.
Fine Gael conference

Leo Varadkar: 'Ireland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness'

The Taoiseach said homeless figures are low by international standards.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has insisted that Ireland has “one of the lowest levels of homelessness” despite a record number of people living in emergency accommodation. asked the Taoiseach about his statement in his speech last night in which he said “cynical” people state that Fine Gael won’t solve the housing crisis and how the Rebuilding Ireland action plan is working.

“I don’t believe them. Yes, there are major challenges with housing and homelessness, and no, they won’t be solved overnight. But we have a plan, the plan is working, and we won’t stop until we succeed. Because we believe that everyone should have a home. And we believe that every working person should be able to aspire to own one,” he said last night.

“How can you make such a statement when Ireland has one of the highest figures to date?” Homeless figures rose to its highest figure in September to 8,300.

“We are actually a country by international standards compared with our peers that has a low level of homelessness.”

“What stats are those? Per capita?” asked

“They’re the stats and we can provide them for you and that of course is a good thing. It’s a good thing that in Ireland we’ve a low level of homelessness compared to our peer countries.

“But what’s better than that is that we don’t think that’s good enough and we want to continue to reduce homelessness in the years ahead.”

Does Ireland not have one of the highest figures the country has ever seen, asked

“Yes, yes obviously homelessness and the number of people in emergency accommodation has increased over the last number of years, but by international standards homeless in Ireland is low but that is not good enough. We want to turn the tide on it.”

The government later provided an OECD report which the Taoiseach was referencing in his remarks. However, the Simon Communities of Ireland have challenged the claim that Ireland’s rates of homelessness are low compared with other countries, stating that other countries use a broader definition of homelessness when gathering their statistics.

Yesterday, the Peter McVerry Trust criticised Fine Gael for not having a segment on the homelessness crisis at the conference this weekend.

The Taoiseach pledged to his delegates last night that his party won’t stop until it solves the housing and homelessness crisis.

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