Councillor says people claim to be homeless to get free hotel
A Dublin City councillor has claimed some people are entering homelessness because emergency accommodation is free.
Independent councillor, Ruairi McGinley said a charge of between €20 and €50 per week should apply to emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs.
He said a scam of the system by some has been going on for years.
"The idea that you're paying huge rent one week and then you're paying zero rent the next week. It's going to give to perverse incentives, with the best will in the world," Mr McGinley told the Irish Independent last night.
"They're putting people in hotels and B&Bs and not charging them a cent. What do you think is going to happen in that situation? Word gets out.
"If they find out there's free accommodation - now they're taking a chance, half the accommodation mightn't be what you like but half of it is. And if you find something suitable you get to stay there free of charge.
"A certain number are [scamming the system] and this has been going on for a number of years. I pointed this out at least three years ago to council officials when Simon Coveney was (housing) minister and the council officials were told by the department that they couldn't charge," he added.
He said "financially vulnerable" people will see the value in not having to pay rent.
"There are genuine people and it's no fun for families trying to rear children in hotel rooms and it causes mental damage, I absolutely get that.
"The answer to that is to build more housing units. The answer is not to be giving people free accommodation."
The issue was raised at last night's Dublin City Council meeting in City Hall to which Mr McGinley received widespread criticism.
Fellow councillor Christy Burke called on Cllr McGinley to withdraw his remarks.
"No family is in a hotel by choice. They're paying a heavy price and that's their dignity, integrity and their own home," he said. He said he will invite Cllr McGinley to meet families living in emergency accommodation.