Fine Gael want housing crisis 'swept away', says Cork councillor

Fine Gael want housing crisis 'swept away', says Cork councillor

A Cork Councillor says homeless people who have resorted to living in tents at the River Lee Quays are being hounded away - to detract attention from the homeless crisis.

Solidarity's Fiona Ryan has visited the area and spoken to the local residents.

She says they have been let down by both the Government's housing policies and Cork City Council.

Cllr Fiona Ryan
Cllr Fiona Ryan

"The reality is that a lot of long-term homeless people, they do not feel safe in the shelters and actually feel safer on the street," said Ms Ryan.

"I believe that Fine Gael are trying to divert attention.

"What they are really objecting to is the visibility of the housing crisis.

"They want it swept away and they want it to continue to be hidden but this is the reality and consequences of Fine Gael's housing policy over the last two governments."

There are a group of some 10 people living in tents on St Patrick’s Quay on the northern channel of the River Lee, in the heart of Cork city centre.

The encampment, which has been dubbed “Freedom Wharf” or “TentsVille”, gives those who call it home a sense of community, a sense of security, they say.

But Cork City Council plans to clear the quay. It’s understood the plans are at an advanced stage.

The city council and Cork Simon both say their homeless outreach teams have engaged with the tent dwellers but that their offers of help have been declined.

“We know there is bed capacity in the city’s homeless hostels and therefore tent dwellers are visited by the Simon outreach team and Cork City Council’s outreach worker very regularly and invited to avail of the options available,” the council said in a statement.

“The consistent response is one of non-engagement and a wish not to interact with any services.

"Staff are told that this form of accommodation (tents) is a personal choice the people concerned have made. Furthermore, they are not asking to be housed.”

Meanwhile, homeless activists have started occupying a new building in Dublin to highlight homelessness.

They have marched to the property on Belvedere Place after around 100 people took part in a rally yesterday outside the GPO on O'Connell Street.

'Take Back The City' organised the protest and is also refusing to leave a building on North Frederick Street, despite a High Court injunction.

Eoin from 'Take Back The City' is slamming the Government for it's record on the housing crisis across the country.

File photo of 'Take Back The City' activists occupying a vacant house in Dublin. Pic: RollingNews.ie
File photo of 'Take Back The City' activists occupying a vacant house in Dublin. Pic: RollingNews.ie

"Our message to the govenrment, our message to Eoghan Murphy is: your inaction, your indifference is completely unacceptable and people are starting to resist.

"This movement will only continue to grow and what we're trying to do with Take Back the City here in Dublin is expand that and encourage people to get organised and occupy around the country so it's not just in Dublin.

"This is a crisis that is affecting people all over the country and we want to encourage other people in other communities to do what we're doing."

Digital Desk

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