Wednesday 16 October 2019

There "will always be" homeless people - Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins
23/03/2019. FREE TO USE IMAGE. Fine Gael National Conference in Wexford. Pictured are Minister Regina Doherty and Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Patrick Browne
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The problem of homelessness will never be eradicated completely, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has said.

And he described a previous promise by the Labour Party to end homelessness as “very irresponsible”.

In an admission that is likely to create significant criticism from Opposition TDs, Mr Murphy said there “will always be people who will not be able to find shelter on a given night”.

“There will always be people whose circumstances, through no fault of their own, means they need the support of community services.

“It might be a one night bed, it might be a six month bed, it might be something longer than that. That’s why we as a government will always have the supports in place,” he told reporters at Fine Gael’s National Conference.

However, Mr Murphy insisted the party’s candidates will “tell a positive story about what we are doing” on the doorsteps in the run up to the local and European elections.

Almost 10,000 people, including more than 3,000 children, are in emergency accommodation.

“On average a family will spend in a family hub will spend less than six months in emergency accommodation before we find them a home.

“It’s not where they should be but it’s a much better first response than a hotel,” the minister said.

“We are going to continue to face a crisis in homelessness. And we are going to continue to face a challenge of large numbers of people in emergency accommodation until we have built thousands and thousands of more homes. That will happen this year. It will happen again next year.”

He criticised other political parties for trying to make the “complex” situation sound easier than it is.

“I remember, I think it was after Jonathan Currie died, I think the Labour Party committed to ending homelessness by 2016 which I think was very irresponsible at the time because it’s an incredibly complex challenge,” Mr Murphy said.

The promise was actually made by Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan in 2013, more than a year before Mr Currie passed away in a doorway close to Leinster House.

The Labour Party was in government with Fine Gael at the time and vowed to eradicate long-term homelessness by the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

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