Sunday 24 June 2018

Fr McVerry: State failures mean people can't get clean from drugs

Fr Peter McVerry
Fr Peter McVerry
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry has spoken of his anger at the State's failure to give a fighting chance to people who have worked hard to get clean from drugs.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent this weekend, the tireless campaigner said he no longer sheds a tear or is shocked by the tragedies which unfold around him - because he is so used to the homeless crisis at his door.

However, he said his anger rises when he sees drug-free people beaten down by the lack of provisions by those in power. "When I see people coming in to me drug-free or a phone call comes from a rehab centre to say someone is clean after a five-month programme - and then they have nowhere to go and they are placed in a hostel full of drug users. That really infuriates me. That's the State making certain that people can't come off drugs and get a chance at life again," he said.

As the homeless and housing crisis deepens, Fr McVerry, who has fought for services to help the homeless for the past 40 years, also expressed his despair at the lack of any real changes which would deal with the crisis.

"We have had three ministers for housing and three housing strategies in the past 18 months and here we are, all this time later, and every single month, the number of homeless people, families and children is getting worse," he said.

"While this Government is constantly telling us there is a housing crisis, I don't think they actually believe it. I see no urgency in their responses. When the flooding happened in Donegal, there was an emergency declared and all the different bodies got together and worked out exactly how they were going to tackle it. We need to do that with the homeless crisis."

Sunday Independent

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