Campaigners hit out at idea of housing people on cruise ships

Campaigners hit out at idea of housing people on cruise ships

Homeless campaigners have hit out the idea of housing homeless people on cruise ships.

Dublin City Council had been considering plans to accommodate up to 150 people on a rented ship in a bid to ease the ongoing homelessness crisis.

However, the Inner City Helping Homeless charity said there was plenty of land available for the government to build affordable homes, with campaigner Fr Peter McVerry saying that the idea is a non-runner.

He was supported by Labour senator Aodhán O'Riordán, who, speaking on the Today with Sean O'Rourke show on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, said it was an "absolutely outrageous idea" and "disgusting".

"Most of the Governments targets on housing don't get achieved, but you're not going to get a cruise ship and locate it on the Liffey by Christmas," he said.

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy also ruled out the idea this morning, saying it is not suitable for homeless families in need while better solutions are being explored.

Despite this, there were a number more favourable of the idea, including the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, who said the idea is worth considering, as did Paddy Smyth, a Fine Gael Councillor who is a member of Dublin City Council.

He said housing people on decommissioned cruise ships could make a dent in the number of homeless people if the plan is implemented correctly.

Also speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke this morning, Mr Smyth said he first made the suggestion to the housing department in 2016 and it is a practice that is used in other jurisdictions.

He said this was not a perfect idea but one that should not be dismissed out of hand, while efforts were being made to build houses.

"I think it could make a dent in the numbers for people who are transitioning out of homelessness," he said.

A large cruise ship could, he said, would house thousands of people and have room for creche, recreational, in-house social workers and GP facilities.

"Whether or not it could be done in the right way, that's the question," he said.

In a statement, Dublin City Council said they had been considering using a cruise ship to accommodate single rough sleepers in Dublin, but will not be doing so this winter.

"The possibility of leasing a cruise ship to be berthed in Dublin Port in order to provide emergency accommodation for homeless single adults/rough sleepers in Dublin has been considered by the City Council/Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

"It was felt that this approach would offer a number of advantages relative to other single person emergency accommodation options including speed of delivery and access to higher quality self -contained apartment type accommodation at a competitive cost.

"However, the option is not currently being pursued as the Council/DRHE are confident they will be able to source sufficient additional emergency accommodation to address the requirement of rough sleepers this winter without the need to lease a cruise ship."

Digital Desk

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