Coveney vows to end hotel use for homeless by July
Housing Minister Simon Coveney insisted Ireland will achieve its July target of ending reliance on hotels and B&Bs for long-term accommodation for homeless families.
His vow came as dozens of families fear having to leave their hotel accommodation because of bookings pressure from St Patrick's Day tourists.
One Dublin family of five admitted they would have nowhere to go after being told they had to vacate the hotel where they had been staying because of tourist bookings.
Mr Coveney acknowledged that such reliance on hotels for homeless accommodation was not acceptable - and urged families to avail of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) support service.
"There are over 800 families that are either in hotels or B&B accommodation," he said.
"There are about two-thirds of families in hotels and B&B accommodation who are dealt with through the Place Finders Service in the Dublin regional homeless executive.
"The other third effectively self-accommodate. If any families are having difficulties at the moment with accommodation, they need to contact the Dublin regional homeless executive."
Mr Coveney pointed out that the Dublin family told to vacate their hotel accommodation were found alternative lodgings within hours.
"If there are issues, they will be resolved - that is always the way it is in the build-up to bank holiday weekends or busy times," he said.
"If there are pressures, we will obviously help families to find the accommodation that they need."
Mr Coveney admitted that such reliance on hotels and B&Bs was not acceptable.
"We want to end this reliance on it (hotels) as emergency accommodation - I have made that perfectly clear," he said.
"We are working intensively now to ensure that we find alternative long-term accommodation through social housing supports, through long-term leasing and rental accommodation so that families are in homes and not in hotel rooms.
"That is a big priority for the Government.
"It was always going to be a pressurised position to do that because we have a lot of families that have come in to homelessness in the past six months and are currently in hotel accommodation.
"But we are determined that the target we have set by the middle of this year can be met."
Charities including Focus Ireland, St Vincent de Paul, Simon and Threshold have repeatedly hit out that families - particularly those with young children - have to rely on hotel or B&B accommodation.