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I know of one empty property to house the city's homeless

The shocking news of the death of a homeless person on Dublin's Molesworth Street has already been the cause of much comment.

But while talk and concern about the problem is all very well, action is what is required.

One would have thought that the minimum requirement is to find accommodation over the coming months for the nearly 200 people who sleep rough in the capital each night.

It is ironic that this tragedy should have taken place in the location it did, a stone's throw from those two premises which house the capital's leaders, Leinster House and the Mansion House.

idleness

And the irony is cranked up even further when you consider that, for significant chunks of the year, these two buildings are near-deserted - of politicians at least.

On top of its well-publicised eight weeks off over the summer, the Oireachtas won't sit for four weeks over Christmas.

Even more pertinent in its state of idleness is, however, the Lord Mayor's city centre palace, the Mansion House.

"I'm undecided as to whether I'll live there," Christy Burke said back in June.

"It's nice to know there's a bed there if I'm working late and I'm up around that part, but I'm a home bird."

While this may have reinforced Christy's image as a friend of the common man, it now seems, with the benefit of hindsight, somewhat crass, given the city's ongoing homelessness crisis.

There is absolutely no doubt that Christy Burke is genuine in his concern for the homeless, and his words and actions of the past six months have shown a far greater will on his part than of any previous incumbent to engage with the problem.

But his comment about the Mansion House has shone a light on what an irrelevant waste of money it is, with €600k to be spent on its forthcoming refurbishment.

derelict

So given the publicity of recent days, here's a novel idea, a move that would solve the city centre's homelessness problem in one fell swoop.

Because if we're looking for a derelict building in the city centre for the coldest months of winter, with ample heating, space for beds and a huge, functioning kitchen, I can think of exactly one such venue.

The Mansion House.

It is not, of course, a long term solution, but the publicity surrounding the scheme might just shame the Government into doing something real and long term.

So over to you, Christy. In the spirit of Christmas, how about giving up your 'crib' for people who need it?


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