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Scheme to move city homeless to country towns

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Jonathan Corrie

Jonathan Corrie

Jonathan Corrie

DUBLIN City Council says it will consider offering housing to homeless people from the capital in towns around the country in response to the ongoing housing crisis.

Members of the council this week discussed the Homeless Action Plan that was devised following a meeting of the Government and various homeless charities shortly before Christmas.

The meeting came after homeless man Jonathan Corrie died in early December just metres from Leinster House.

The 43-year-old had been sleeping rough and died in a doorway of a building.

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Dublin City Council and the Government have been considering ways to address the ongoing issue.

Responding to a question by Cllr Mannix Flynn, the city management said the "use of properties elsewhere in the State" was being considered.

"If there are people who might want to go, we should endeavour to facilitate that," a council official said, adding it was not the council's plan for homeless people in Dublin to "descend" on towns and villages around the country to tackle the housing crisis.

Councillors were updated on progress made in tackling homelessness by Cathal Morgan of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, who said 271 emergency beds had been created, more than the 260 pledged initially.

However, he said not all the emergency beds were being used with between nine and 33 beds remaining vacant some nights.

Councillors also heard that it is intended to extend the opening hours of a "night cafe" to make it operational "all night, seven days a week". A total of 729 properties have been brought into use since the plan was implemented.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said the homeless situation remained "totally unacceptable" and that "rent control and rent supplement must be addressed as a matter of priority" to end large families having to live in hotels.

He also said that he had come across "strange individuals" while out working with the homeless who he said had come over from Scotland, where there were warrants out for their arrest, because they had heard there were additional beds made available in Dublin following the death of Mr Corrie.

He added that Taoiseach Enda Kenny had called him at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve as well as St Stephen's Day and New Year's to check on the homeless situation in the capital.

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Some councillors were critical of the action plan devised by Environment Minister Alan Kelly, and said more needed to be done to tackle the problem.

Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh said conditions in some hostels remained inferior and said some constituents have contracted skin diseases, while one father was told by a chemist his daughter was suffering with Foot and Mouth disease.

Several councillors criticised plans to give half of all housing allocations to homeless and vulnerable people, which has the potential to cause "flashpoints".

hnews@herald.ie


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