The welfare of those sleeping rough in Wexford during the cold winter months has been discussed at the monthly meeting of Wexford County Council.
Citing an encounter with four men climbing into sleeping bags in Wexford town on one of the coldest nights of the year, Cllr Jim Codd asked the Director of Housing, John Carley, whether the Council had any contingency plans for accommodating rough sleepers on nights where the temperature dropped below zero.
In response Mr Carley said people in the Housing Department were already working on it and did so 'every time there is a weather warning or even before that if they see there is heavy weather coming'.
Cllr Lisa McDonald suggested the old Garda building on Roche's Road, which is currently standing empty and has done since its closure in 2017, could be put to good use during the winter months stating that it 'could easily house some of the people who are rough sleeping at the moment'.
Yet, according to Mr Carley, the issue is more complex than would at first appear.
'With regards to homelessness, there are many varied and complex reasons why people are homeless. We have great difficulty interacting with the homeless, and getting them accommodation, a number haven't engaged with services we provide,' he said.
'That's the reality on the ground. As the Director of Housing I don't like to preside over the situation we have at the moment. It's not good for the children and it's not good for those in that position.'
Meanwhile, Enniscorthy Councillor Jackser Owens described the plight of some of his constituents worst affected by the housing crisis.
'There's homeless people and then there's housing applications in rented property whose landlords end up selling. In Enniscorthy, in the last ten years the council has built eight social houses, that is on the record,' said Cllr Owens.
Now these people can't find accommodation, they have families, children who go to school, and they end up having to go to another county, it's just not good enough.
'These people I talk to, one person said she was going to have to go to camp out because there's no accommodation in the area,' the Independent Councillor concluded.