A refugee-style campsite of homeless people has appeared on the outskirts of Limerick city as its council revealed there are 57 children homeless, while more than 4,000 people on the local authority’s housing waiting list.
As our photograph shows, a number of tents have been set up in a derelict warehouse which has no light or heat, and is located a stone’s throw from the city centre.
A Tricolour hangs overhead one of the tents, a poignant reminder of how some continue to be marginalised in society. When we visited the camp this week, it was a chilly 6C, however temperatures have dropped over recent nights to -4C. Two people have died sleeping rough in Limerick in the past two months.
Two weeks ago homeless men Joe Lynch and Donal O’Keefe described how they sleep on cold concrete floors in a derelict building in Limerick city.
However, in a statement Limerick city and county council said “no rough sleepers were found” following garda checks at derelict private properties.
“Reports of sites anecdotally identified as places where people are sleeping rough are checked out. The council will carry this out on property owned by the local authority,” the council added.
“As of November 25, there were 197 individuals currently resident in emergency homeless accommodation in Limerick, including 57 children.
“A further 16 adults are on a waiting list for emergency accommodation not receiving B&B support, but accommodated by family etc, while eight adults are accessing the Winter Initiative Beds available.
“The latest rough sleepers count took place on October 21, 2016 which found one adult sleeping rough. He declined emergency accommodation,” a spokesperson stated.
They added: “Negotiations are ongoing in relation to the provision of 15 beds which should become available in the coming weeks. Discussions are also taking place in relation to a late night café.”
The council said it has employed two resettlement case managers who are working with voluntary staff at hostels to support and source solutions for homeless individuals or families.
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea described the situation as “completely and utterly out of control”.
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