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Varadkar says we don't always hear the 'full stories' when it comes to homelessness

The Taoiseach was asked how he feels when hears personal stories about homelessness today.

HOUSING SUMMIT The Taoiseach with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

TODAY, TAOISEACH LEO Varadkar was present at the Housing Summit chaired by Minister Eoghan Murphy.

At the summit, Murphy and fellow ministers met with the heads of the 31 local authorities to discuss the housing and homelessness crisis, and planned measures to help alleviate the crisis.

Facing questions from reporters, TheJournal.ie asked the Taoiseach how he feels when he hears the personal, lived experiences of those living in homelessness.

Here’s what he said:

“I think one person’s soundbite is another person’s fact, or another person’s lived experience. Of course, it’s very much on my mind – all of the issues that relate to housing and homelessness.

And I’m very saddened to hear of many of the stories I do hear in the media. I’m also aware that in many cases when it does come to individual stories, it’s not always the full stories we hear.

“I do think there’s a responsibility on behalf of the media, where they are dealing with individual stories, to make sure they have the full facts, because the public deserves the full facts.

“You’ll be aware of a number of cases in the past few weeks where the full facts haven’t been given by the media, where people have refused housing for example and other issues like that.

I think politicians and media need to be honest about these things. They need to make sure that when anytime they do give stories to the public that it’s the full story, and not part of the story.

“There are also positive stories. As I said today, 80 individuals and families will be housed by the State.

“They are new tenancies. And on every working day this year, 80 individuals and families will be housed by the State. About 20,000 people will be housed by the State. And those are the positive stories that are very common, but we’re not hearing about them.

But I do acknowledge that’s not enough. The government needs to do more and it will do more.

After today’s summit, Minister Eoghan Murphy outlined a series of measures that had been decided upon to try to help ease the current crisis.

It was announced at a press conference this evening that, amongst other measures, a “homeless inter-agency group” is to be established immediately “to deliver homeless services in a coherent and joined-up way between the relevant departments and agencies”.

A further €10 million in funding for more family hubs is also being ring-fenced, as demand arises from local authorities, to be drawn down this year, according to a statement from Murphy this evening. This is in addition to funding announcements for family hubs in June.

With reporting from Christina Finn

Read: The housing summit has ended – here’s what the minister has announced

Read: Vacant houses: Varadkar says that council staff are casting doubt on official CSO stats

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Sean Murray

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