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Saturday 16 December 2017

President says homeless crisis damages Republic

President Michael D.Higgins in Cell 26 that once housed Robert Erskine Childers during the Predidents visit to Wicklow Historic Gaol and the offical opening of the Simon community homeless accommodation, Kilmantin Hill, Wicklow. Picture: Garry O'Neill
President Michael D.Higgins in Cell 26 that once housed Robert Erskine Childers during the Predidents visit to Wicklow Historic Gaol and the offical opening of the Simon community homeless accommodation, Kilmantin Hill, Wicklow. Picture: Garry O'Neill

Brian Byrne

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has condemned our society as "hardly meeting the minimal definition of a Republic" for letting the homelessness crisis spin so far out of control.

In a damning speech at the opening of a new 17-person homeless accommodation facility at Kilmantin Hill in Wicklow Town, Mr Higgins said housing needs in Ireland "have become a commodity in a speculative market" and added "we are not meeting that concept which must lie at the heart of any genuine concept of citizenship".

He said he had heard "many difficult and sad stories of people who were being denied their basic longing for citizenship; of people who had been let down by" our society.

"All those who have travelled that arduous road, whatever the reason, know that it is a road that leads to a place where citizens are deprived in so many ways of a role in society.

"They are denied that sense of place, of home, of neighbourhood, shared solidarity and responsibility, which is critical to our living together."

He said such accommodation should be part of "a meaningful and real solidarity, such as a support system which will enable and encourage those now in urgent need back into fully independent living".

The 24-hour service is operated by the Simon Community.

Irish Independent

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