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  • Northside East

TDs clash over homelessness and housing

Monday, 2nd December, 2019 8:00am
TDs clash over homelessness and housing

There are almost 4,000 children homeless in the State. PIC POSED: BIGSTOCK

TDs clash over homelessness and housing

There are almost 4,000 children homeless in the State. PIC POSED: BIGSTOCK

Aoife O’Brien

A NORTHSIDE TD has accused Fianna Fáil of supporting the Government’s “shameful record” on tackling the housing crisis and child homelessness.

Speaking in the Dáil, Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell (SF) said the Government is actively harming children by denying them their own home.

“There are almost 4,000 children homeless in this State,” Deputy Mitchell said. “Numerous studies have shown the detrimental impact that homelessness has on children in terms of physical, mental and emotional health.

“Homeless children are far more likely to have poor school attendance, poor diet, inadequate rest and poor living conditions.

“We are stunting their growth in ways that may not become apparent for years to come.”

Sinn Fein placed a motion of no confidence in Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, last September.

According to Deputy Mitchell, Minister Murphy survived because Fianna Fáil abstained from voting.

As a result, she has accused Fianna Fáil of “directly supporting this Government and (their) shameful record on addressing the housing crisis that is plaguing this State.”

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, hit back at the stinging criticism.

“It’s unfortunate that Sinn Féin are playing party politics with the issue,” said the Dublin Fingal TD.

“Voters can look at (Sinn Féin’s) record in Northern Ireland to see what impact they have had there when they have had the opportunity to influence policy. It’s none. Instead they have closed down parliament for a world record breaking almost three years.”

Deputy O’Brien also condemned Fine Gael for its policy for tackling homelessness.

“The unprecedented numbers of homeless which has soared to 10,300 with almost 4,000 children is a damning indictment of Fine Gael policy,” he said. 

Deputy O’Brien said Fianna Fáil has forced Fine Gael to triple funding to social housing over the past several budgets.

“Fianna Fáil will take the lead on investing in a housing first approach that helps secure the future of vulnerable children suffering the worst impact of government failings,” he added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said the Government is committed to delivering homes for all of the families currently experiencing homelessness.

“In 2019 the Government increased the budget available to local authorities to deliver homeless services by over 25 percent to €146 million, and this will increase again in 2020 to €166 million,” the spokesperson told Northside People.

According to the spokesperson, this funding will support more than 5,500 adults and their children to exit from homelessness to a home.

“It will also support the delivery of services to prevent families having to enter emergency accommodation,” the spokesperson said.

The department added that additional support services for families in emergency accommodation are available through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. 

These include a special provision of free childcare for children from homeless families and a special emphasis being placed on children from homeless families through the School Completion Programme for services such as breakfast and homework clubs.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here