Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# drug hostels
Alan Kelly and Fr Peter McVerry are fighting again
The veteran campaigner said homeless people are better off sleeping rough than going to emergency accommodation.

alan Photocall Ireland Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR the Environment Alan Kelly has suggested that the authorities are “on top of” the homeless crisis currently being seen in Ireland.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Kelly said that everything that could be done is currently being done and that budget is not an issue.

“We’ve provided an extra thousand units for the homeless since last December, and we’re talking high quality units here,” he said.

The scale of the issue at present is the real concern, but let me be clear there is no issue with regard to budget.
Our funding for homeless people has increased by 20% in the last year, and I expect that to double going forward.

Kelly’s interview was given in response to homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry’s assertion that the homeless would be better off sleeping rough than in emergency accommodation, and that the government’s response to the crisis has been “cheap”.

McVerry has said that there is no drug-free emergency accommodation in Ireland. Kelly says that he disagrees with this entirely.

“I don’t agree that every single unit is filled with drugs and alcohol,” Kelly said.

There’s an awful lot of hard work going on. We have over 120 drug and alcohol free beds, and another 20 coming on stream, with more money being put into homelessness than ever before.
Of course there’s going to be problems in homeless shelters, of course there is, but some of these people have very complex problems.

mcver Fr Peter McVerry

Earlier on the same programme McVerry said that emergency hostels are “frightening intimidating places, totally unsuitable for those who are drug free”.

People just do not feel safe in them, you sleep with your runners on your feet or they’ll be gone in the morning.
It’s a cheap solution in that having six people in one room is cheaper than six rooms, but it’s not appropriate.
You have to remember also that if someone turns down a spare bed in the system they have their welfare benefits stopped by the Department of Social Protection.

Read: “A scumbag”: Alan Kelly had a thing or two to say about that threatening package

Read: Alan Kelly thinks Fr McVerry says ‘nothing positive’. But the campaigner’s never met him