Count must take place
Louth County Council Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has slammed the local authority for not having carried out the annual rough sleeper count in Drogheda.
Cllr Byrne, who has been extremely vocal on this issue, also raised this at the Joint Policing Committee meeting with the Chief Superintendent following a statement released from the Housing Department stating they had not carried out this count yet due to safety concerns in light of the recent feuding and crime in Drogheda.
Following up on this at the Council meeting, Cllr Byrne stated "Under no circumstances do I expect any staff member to put themselves at risk but if you, as the Local Authority, recognise there may be heightened concerns for your safety whilst carrying out the rough sleeper count - you also need to recognise that these same risks apply to those sleeping on our streets.
'For that reason it is even more important the count be carried out now, as a matter of urgency. At a time when every other state body and NGO are putting in additional resources to remove as many people from the cold as possible yet here in Louth we are failing to fulfil our statutory obligations in doing the same, this makes my blood boil."
Director of Services for Housing, Paddy Donnelly, told the meeting that his first obligation is to the safety of his staff and he is working with An Garda Síochana to carry this count out in the new year, in a safe and organised manner. He did however state to the meeting that in the interim, any homeless person brought to his attention, would be facilitated to the best of the Local Authority's ability.