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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 18 June, 2019
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Mini buses bring homeless people to extra 200 emergency beds in Dublin

Similar arrangements are being made by local authorities in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Meath, Kildare, Louth and Wicklow.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Updated 6.15pm

BUSES ARE COLLECTING rough sleepers in Dublin and over 100 calls have been made to emergency accommodation services from members of the public to express concern over homeless people they’ve seen on the streets.

According to the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, additional resources have been provided to house homeless people and ensure they’re not caught up in ex-hurricane Ophelia.

Dublin City Council and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) have sourced an additional 200 emergency bed spaces in the Dublin area and have confirmed that there is enough capacity in the system to meet the needs of all who wish to receive shelter.

Outside of Dublin, homeless individuals and rough sleepers are being transported to facilities using taxi or local authority mini bus services.

The Department said that similar efforts were being made by local authorities in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Meath, Kildare, Louth and Wicklow to ensure people have shelter and are transporting homeless individuals to facilities.

‘The last moment’

Earlier today, founder of the Capuchin Day Centre, Brother Kevin Crowley has criticised the government for failing to put in place adequate arrangements for homeless people earlier on in storm planning.

Speaking to RTÉ News, he said: “There wasn’t one word of anything being done for the homeless people and that really saddens me – it shows that the government doesn’t really care, that there was nothing put into action to help the people until the last moment.”

No person should be on the streets tonight and my big fear is that somebody would die on our streets and I’m taking this precaution and we’re staying open here this evening. We have arranged for so many people to come in to make sure we have enough food and we’ll have some place for these people to stay.

Councillor Christy Burke was also critical of the government’s response:

In another tweet he said: “They were to slow to act. They should hang their heads in shame.”

Inner City Helping Homeless, which has been out on the streets of Dublin all day encouraging people to seek shelter, also voiced criticism.

In a statement earlier today Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said his department had been liaising with local authorities and homeless services over the weekend and overnight. He repeated these statements in briefings given throughout the day.

Housing First Teams and local authorities have been working through the night offering shelter to those on the streets and transporting individuals to a range of facilities, the statement said.

All facilities will remain open for the full day during the storm and shelter is being provided to all those who need it.

Dublin

The Peter McVerry Trust said it is initiating its emergency response protocols. The outreach team has been strongly encouraging all rough sleepers to access emergency shelter and transport will be provided.

It also opened up the communal spaces at Richmond Street and Aungier Street services to provide exceptional, emergency shelter to people sleeping rough. The homeless youth café at 12/13 Berkeley Street, Dublin is operating on extended hours.

“Our one night only services, which total 64 beds are going 24 hour access until further notice allowing all residents to remain in the shelter.

The Newbridge service in Kildare has been designated a safe space for rough sleepers in the county,” the charity said.

Its service at St Catherine Foyer, Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8, will offer additional exceptional spaces to provide emergency overnight placements for 25 people.

The council’s regional homeless executive is asking all homeless services to remain open.

Focus Ireland said its coffee shop in Dublin will also be open throughout the day, “providing not only a place of warmth and security but also hot food and information about what additional measures have been put in place throughout the day”.

“It is important to remember that the weather conditions will also create a risk for staff and volunteers who are on the street. Our teams in Dublin have transport back-up to help move people to places of safety,” the charity said.

The Capuchin Day Centre has been open from 9am this morning and people are welcome to stay there for the day.

Depaul said it will be keeping its four emergency hostels open 24 hours for the duration of Storm Ophelia. Little Britain Street, Brú Aimsir, Mount Brown and Blessington Street hostels will remain open with a total of 210 beds in what are usually night time only accommodation services.

The charity’s CEO Kerry Anthony said:

It is of vital importance that we do not forget to provide for the most vulnerable people in society during this storm. So many people have nowhere to go during the day and sleep rough at night, it is imperative that they have somewhere safe and indoors to go for the entirety of the storm.

Cork

Cork Simon’s day centre has been open since 8.30 this morning and the charity is encouraging people to go there to seek shelter from the storm. It is putting plans in place to extend the opening hours of this centre and is also hoping to make extra emergency beds available tonight.

Homeless charity Novas, which has services in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Kerry and the Midlands said its office will be closed today, but all accommodation services will remain open.

In Galway, Cope is offering shelter:

A number of businesses have opened their doors those without shelter during the storm, including this B&B in Co Mayo:

In Cork, 3 Little Piggies cafe has been open to the homeless for shelter from 9pm last night.

Tallaght Adventure World in south Dublin also said it is inviting rough sleepers to spend tonight there. Dermot Richardson, who owns the centre, told TheJournal.ie that it will be closed for business, but will is opening its doors to anyone who needs shelter.

After a call-out on Facebook for volunteers, he said he was “inundated with calls overnight” and they also have a stock of sleeping bags for people who arrive in.

“People are very good, we’ve had taxi drivers and bus drivers saying they’ll pick people up wherever they are and bring them in,” he said. “Nobody needs to be out on the street in the storm”.

Members of the public are being asked to report any homeless case or individual that they have concerns to their local authority and the cases will be followed up by each local authority area. In the Dublin region, members of the public can log and report cases of concern here.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

LIVE: ‘A matter of life and death’ – Updates as Storm Ophelia makes landfall on Kerry coast>

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