March marks anniversary of homeless man's death
Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Dublin yesterday to demand urgent action on the housing and homelessness crisis.
The demonstration came exactly one year after the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie, who was found dead in a doorway near Leinster House on December 1, 2014.
The 43-year-old's death sparked a national outcry, but homelessness campaigners say the situation has worsened.
Mr Corrie died of hypothermia on Molesworth Street, just metres away from the Dáil.
He is survived by his former partner Catherine McNeill, as well as his two teenage children, Natasha and Nathan McNeill Corrie.
Days after Mr Corrie's death, the Kilkenny-based family revealed they had been searching for him for two years. However, they said they stopped after numerous journeys when they were unable to find him.
Keith Troy, of Help 4 The Homeless Ballyfermot, was one of the march's organisers and said building more social housing and increasing rent supplement were measures that needed to be taken.
"We'll be back out in bigger numbers hopefully in the New Year, before the election, to remind the Government," he added. "If a new Government gets in, it will let them know this is what they'll be dealing with."
Inside the gates of Leinster House, the Opposition made quite sure that the Taoiseach wasn't allowed to forget the poignant anniversary of Jonathan Corrie's death.
Pointing out that more than 70 families a month are now losing their homes, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said: "It's absolutely a disgrace that you allowed the problem to become a crisis through inaction."
However, Mr Kenny described homelessness as a "complex" issue. "You shouldn't confuse the issue of rough sleepers on the street and the issue of homelessness in general," he told Mr Martin. "There is a difference in the situation on the streets."
He said that he recently visited a new temporary shelter at Dublin's Digital Hub in which he said there were "150 beds in pristine quarters".
Meanwhile, Dublin City Council defended its response to homelessness after campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said the homeless crisis was far worse than it was one year ago.
The council stated that 260 adults moved out of homelessness in the third quarter of the year.
It added that there were now 37 new family units, 18 new couple units and 80 additional family rooms around Dublin.