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Saturday 24 February 2018

Fourteen babies born into homelessness last year, says charity

Homelessness charity Depaul Ireland’s CEO Kerry Anthony launches the report
Homelessness charity Depaul Ireland’s CEO Kerry Anthony launches the report
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Homeless charity Depaul Ireland said 14 babies were born into homelessness last year.

At the launch of its annual report yesterday, the charity revealed four babies were also born into homelessness in Northern Ireland in 2016.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy declined to appear at the launch yesterday. It was the second time in two days Mr Murphy did not appear at an event to discuss issues surrounding the housing crisis.

Kerry Anthony, CEO of Depaul Ireland, said she would have liked the minister to have attended the launch.

It took place at Depaul's new emergency hostel on Little Britain Street. Ms Anthony said Mr Murphy had been invited two weeks ago.

The event was put in his diary, however, she said he had not confirmed he could definitely attend.

"We would very much have loved Minister Murphy to be here. We would have liked him to have seen Little Britain Street and to hear what we have to say," Ms Anthony told the Irish Independent.

"In fairness, he had never fully committed. They had said it was on his diary list and if he could, he would, and then he wasn't able to."

She acknowledged that the minister had a busy schedule and that was why he was unable to attend.

A spokesperson for the minister said he would have liked to have attended, but because of demands on his time, it wasn't possible.

"We will give full consideration to the annual report," he said.

Mr Murphy angered members of Dublin City Council when he did not turn up to discuss the crisis at the council's monthly meeting on Monday, despite an invitation to do so. Councillor Christy Burke said the minister was showing "contempt" for the council.

Responding to the anger, a statement from the minister said an invitation was extended through Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan.

It said Mr Murphy had no problem with meeting the council and was prepared to do so. It added that the actions at the council were "using a crisis for political purposes".

The Depaul report said that in 2016, it supported 3,620 people at risk of homelessness and opened the 65-bed facility on Little Britain Street.

Irish Independent

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