Former Lord Mayor swaps chains of office for chains of protest over homeless crisis
Former Lord Mayor Christy Burke and two of his supporters chained themselves to the railings of the Custom House in Dublin this morning in protest over the deepening homeless crisis.
Swapping chains of office for chains of protest, the three men shackled themselves to the black railings of the iconic and historic building that is home to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is due to meet with the heads of local authorities from all over the country today to discuss the homeless crisis.
This follows the deaths of three homeless people in Dublin, Kildare and Cork last week and the release of new figures that show more and more families and children are falling homeless each month.
The figures for July reveal that 8,160 people, including 1,429 families, have nowhere to live.
The number of children without a roof over their heads has shot up by almost 300pc in three years, to a record of 2,973.
A further 78 children have become homeless since the last figures were released in June.
As he tightened the chains around his waist this morning, Cllr Burke said it was time for actions from the authorities, and not talk.
“We are highlighting the crisis in homelessness, housing and rough sleepers here this morning.
“There are men and women in sleeping bags, and men and women and children in hotels and B&Bs,” he added.
Mr Burke said five successive Ministers of the Environment, and the State, have “failed to bring up a strategy to end the misery”.
“As we all know there have been a number of deaths in the last week and those deaths will continue unless the Minister comes out with a radical plan today, and we will continue to protest at random at each ministerial department over the next number of weeks if we are not satisfied with the outcome today,” he said.
“We want houses, we want homes. We want the misery to end. There needs to be political will from the Taoiseach’s office, stood over by the Secretary General, and the fast track the procurement and the planning laws in relation to development,” Mr Burke explained.
“Homes. Not talk. Actions. Not walking, not talking. Don’t tell us any more Minister. You need to show us, because we are not going away,” he added.