Tuesday 6 December 2016

London's homeless Irish face even tougher times

Published 29/09/2011 | 05:00

I'll be honest, when I pass a homeless person on London's streets I usually focus on some point in the distance to avoid making eye contact. Why? I'm not sure but I assume my subconscious tells me that if I make a connection I will have to hand over money and, despite pangs of guilt, it's easier just to walk on by. But if I knew that person was from Ireland, from my own county or my own town, I'm sure I would react in a different way.

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Figures released for 2010 showed that there were 365 homeless Irish people in the English capital, one for every day of the year. That total represented 5pc of the overall figure of 7,500 (just less than the population of Nenagh), but it's expected to increase.

In all, 26,400 people app- roached a local council for housing help in the first three months of 2011, a rise of 23pc compared with the same period last year, and the overall homeless figure is expected to rise by at least 10pc in the coming months. In keeping with that rise, the number of homeless Irish people on London's streets is likely to top 400 by Christmas this year.

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