Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Barry Cowen, has said that it is a shocking indictment of Fine Gael’s value system that Minister Eoghan Murphy’s first decision has been to abandon targets for re-housing homeless families from hotels into more suitable temporary accommodation.
Deputy Cowen commented: "It hasn’t taken long for Minister Murphy to show his true colours with this decision. The decision clearly deprioritises the welfare of homeless families and their children living in hotels."
“These hotels and B&Bs are simply not suitable and have lacked the necessary inspections to ensure that they are safe and suitable for families with children."
Lynam’s Hotel in Dublin – which has been used as temporary accommodation for dozens of homeless families with children over the last two years - was closed yesterday by order of Dublin Fire Services due to significant fire safety concerns.
“We need to know who made the call on housing homeless families in what was effectively a fire trap, and whether any inspections took place to advance of homeless families moving in," Cowen said.
“Since December 2014 child and family homelessness has trebled and there are currently 1,300 homeless families including 2,708 children. We now have a generation of children who know nothing other than growing up in hotels."
“While the Department has decided not to release figures on the number of new families becoming newly homeless, we know that every month, an additional 90 families become newly homeless in the capital – a tripling in the last three months to May," the Offaly TD claimed.
“It says a lot about this Government’s value system that it does not consider re-housing these families as a critical priority."
“Hotels are not a suitable place to raise a child. A child’s development, their ability to access educational or primary health facilities, or simply being able to eat a cooked meal is being hampered by living in this unsuitable hotel spaces."
“It is time for Tusla to step in, and call a halt to this harmful scenario. No matter the cost, this has to end, and the Government can no longer shirk their responsibilities,” Cowen concluded.
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