Thursday 19 July 2018

Hotel rooms and B&Bs are not suitable for 'homeless' families - Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

Hotel rooms and Bed and Breakfasts are “not suitable” places for homeless families to be staying in, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

He was speaking after figures showed a significant rise in homeless numbers.

Mr Kenny was speaking at Knock where the first chartered transatlantic pilgrimage flight arrived early this morning.

Department of the Environment figures over the weekend showed a 55pc increase in the number of homeless families in the country since the start of the year.

The figures also revealed a sharp rise in the number of homeless families living in hotels.

"It is not suitable to have people staying in bed and breakfasts and it is not suitable for people to be staying in hotels, particularly when there are children involved," Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach said homelessness is an issue that "always raises its head from September to Christmas" and last year Government responded with a "very serious package".

"That dealt with the rough sleepers and the homeless for a period and now it's rising again."

Mr Kenny said it was not possible to deal with the issue without addressing housing supply.

He said the Government is responding with commitments to reconstruct void units, increase the provision for social houses and with measures to stimulate the private construction market.

"Because no matter who is in Government, and no matter what you do, unless you deal with the scale of supply of housing, you cannot deal with this problem effectively," he said.

Mr Kenny was on hand to welcome the flight’s arrival from the US.

The plane flying from New York's JFK Airport arrived shortly after 7.30am, nearly 30 minutes earlier than expected, with 178 pilgrims on board led by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Mr Kenny and Aer Lingus Chief Executive Stephen Kavanagh were amongst the welcoming party at the Co Mayo airport.

Mr Kavanagh and Knock Airport MD Joe Gilmore said talks are ongoing to establish regular scheduled flights from New York and Boston in the future.

Almost 4,000 people attended a special midday mass in the newly refurbished Basilica at Knock.

It was celebrated by Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons and the Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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