Monday 16 September 2019

Councillor slammed for suggestion homeless people should pay nominal charge for hotels

Ruairi McGinley says some people are playing the system
Ruairi McGinley says some people are playing the system
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A suggestion from a Dublin city councillor that homeless people should be forced to pay a nominal charge for hotel accommodation has been dismissed as "kite-flying".

Independent councillor Ruairí McGinley has said a charge of between €20 and €50 per week should apply to emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs.

He claimed some people may be entering homelessness because they are provided with free accommodation.

"The idea you’re paying huge rent one week and then you’re paying zero rent the next. It’s going to give perverse incentives, with the best will in the world," Mr McGinley has said.

However, speaking at Leinster House today, Labour’s housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan said the comments were "entirely kite-flying" and an effort to "stir up some sort of animosity towards people who are homeless".

"If you’re homeless in a hotel, you have to go out and pay for the washing of your clothes. You can’t cook food so you have to buy food. And we know around Dublin how much food can cost now. There are extra costs on those already helpless families.

"I think this is simply trying to put some blame on people who are homeless rather ensuring something is done about it," Ms O’Sullivan said.

She has also warned that some homeless families are set to find themselves on the street this Christmas as hotels prioritise ordinary business.

"I was talking to a woman last week who is in a hotel in Limerick with her two children who are finding it extremely difficult to even answer questions from their schoolmates about where they are living.

"They have been told they have to get out of their hotel for Christmas because the hotel is required for Christmas business. That’s happening right throughout the city of Dublin as well," Ms O’Sullivan said.

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