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I almost quit over homeless crisis, reveals Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke

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Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke with volunteers from the IICH (Inner City Helping Homeless) out helping some of the homeless people in Dublin City. 26/11/2014

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke with volunteers from the IICH (Inner City Helping Homeless) out helping some of the homeless people in Dublin City. 26/11/2014

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke with volunteers from the IICH (Inner City Helping Homeless) out helping some of the homeless people in Dublin City. 26/11/2014

CHRISTY Burke considered resigning from his position as Lord Mayor after discovering a young Romanian girl lying on the streets in the midst of Dublin's homeless crisis.

The Independent councillor has revealed that he contemplated downing his mayoral chains in protest at the Government's failure to address the number of families in the capital without a home.

In one instance, Mr Burke had a confrontation with a garda sergeant after he refused to allow a homeless couple to shelter in a city garda station.

And Mr Burke said that at one point he considered whether he should continue as Dublin mayor after discovering a young Romanian girl whom he suspected had been trafficked.

"I remember going home and saying: 'I don't know, this just doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I'm speaking on deaf ears. Maybe I should walk'," he said in an interview with the Herald.

Mr Burke said that after considering the matter overnight, he decided that the homeless crisis required him to remain on in the Mansion House so that he could continue his campaign.

Last month, the former Sinn Fein politician was accompanied by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on a walk to experience the city's homeless crisis.

Mr Kenny had requested to do so five weeks previously and prior to the tragic death of Jonathan Corrie on Molesworth Street, just yards from the Dail.

Shaken

According to Mr Burke, the Taoiseach became emotional and extremely shaken on the visit after coming into contact with a number of homeless people.

He told the Herald that volunteers on the visit noticed him become "pink" after examining makeshift beds in the inner city.

"He (The Taoiseach) said 'My god are you telling me human beings lie here' and I said 'yeah'," Mr Burke said.

Not one of them (the homeless) were aggressive, not one of the said 'it's you're fault'. What they said was, 'it's nice to see you out Mr Kenny, will you please give me a bed and a roof over my head , I didn't ask to live this way'."

Mr Burke said solving the homeless crisis was never going to be possible without the intervention of the Taoiseach.

But he said he is he is still concerned about a "lack of hope" in the lives of many Dubliners.

"There may be hope for people in the corporate sector, there may be hope for auctioneers selling homes, there may be hope for people who are able to afford it and that's fine," he said.

"But still there is 600 children each night in a B&B or hotel, you have a number of mammies and daddies with them, you have a number of people with the threat of being evicted by private landlords, so there is no hope in those areas."

noconnor@herald.ie


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