Monday 22 October 2018

Taoiseach admits rising number of homeless people is 'extremely disturbing'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has admitted that the latest figures showing the number of people in homelessness approaching 10,000 are "extremely disturbing".

He made the remarks as he came under pressure over the crisis at the Oireachtas Finance Committee and was accused of "cheek" for claiming that opposition policies would make the situation worse.

He had told TDs that housing and homelessness remain a government priority.

He said: "We are committed to delivering an increased supply of affordable, quality and accessible housing" and pointed to statistics showing that 4,000 people exited homelessness last year.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty challenged Mr Varadkar on these points asking him how the Committee could take him seriously given the latest homelessness figures.

Mr Varadkar insisted that the amount of spending and work in the area being carried out by the government is proof of its commitment to solving the problem.

He conceded the rising numbers of people in homelessness is "extremely disturbing" and said the government will look into why the policies it is implementing aren't having the effect that they have hoped for.

Mr Varadkar also hit back, saying that opposition policies would "make a bad situation much worse".

Mr Doherty responded accusing Mr Varadkar of "having some cheek on you" for that remark.

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