300 extra beds to be made available for homeless people over the winter

300 extra beds to be made available for homeless people over the winter
File photo

At least 300 more beds for homeless people will be made available in a bid to ensure rough sleepers and other vulnerable people are not left out on the streets during the winter freeze.

Government ministers confirmed the plan as part of the cross-departmental Be Winter Ready campaign amid ongoing criticism it is failing to help people in most need.

In a campaign launch on Wednesday morning, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Transport Minister Shane Ross, junior minister for local government Damien English and Business Minister Heather Humphreys said supports will be provided.

Highlighting planned help for homeless people, companies and commuters, they said the Government will put in place a number of new measures between now and spring to plug widespread gaps in the existing system.

Under the Government plans:

  • 300 more beds will be made available for homeless people in Ireland
  • 217,000 tonnes of salt will be provided to address the protect the country's roads in freezing and winter storm conditions
  • Businesses will be given extra advice to help them cope with the worst weather conditions over the coming months

The plans are likely to be welcomed by a number of groups that could be affected by any poor winter weather.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

However, it remains unclear if the extra 300 beds for homeless people and other matters will go far enough to adequately address the deepening homeless crisis, which has resulted in more than 10,000 people now officially facing that situation.

Meanwhile, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has raised separate concerns over the Government's winter ready plan, saying it does not include any details on how ministers intend to tackle hospital overcrowding.

Speaking after the Government campaign's launch, INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the fact 679 people were on hospital trolleys on Tuesday and another 649 on Wednesday is "obscene", saying: "Winter has not even started and Irish hospitals are overwhelmed."

The HSE winter plan, which is likely to address some of these issues, is expected to be published next week.

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