Homeless are being asked to leave hotels for St Patrick's Day, TD claims

Homeless are being asked to leave hotels for St Patrick's Day, TD claims

Homeless families are being asked to leave hotels as the St Patrick’s weekend approaches and demand for holiday accommodation increases, a Sinn Féin TD has claimed, writes Evelyn Ring.

“Families have been in contact with my constituency office saying that they are being told to vacate their rooms in the run-up to St Patrick’s weekend and have literally nowhere to go,” said Sean Crowe.

“A weekend that should be a positive celebration of Irishness will now, unfortunately, have a negative impact on the homelessness situation.”

However, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said normal arrangements with hotels would continue over the bank holiday weekend.

A spokeswoman said Dublin City Council pre-booked hotel rooms one month in advance at all times of the year, so there was sufficient capacity for homeless families.

“If there are cases where families have to leave accommodation we provide a suitable alternative,” she said.

The Peter McVerry Trust said it was not aware of any specific cases where homeless families had been asked to leave their accommodation before the weekend. It said it did know that such peak tourist times create extra pressures for people using hotels and B&Bs as emergency shelter, particularly those having to self-accommodate.

“So it is likely that this weekend will create the same difficulties for people,” said a spokesperson for the homeless and housing charity.

Another homeless charity, Depaul, said it had not been made aware of any family who had been forced to leave their hotel accommodation for St Patrick’s Day, but the concern that had been raised highlighted the complete unsuitability of using hotels and B&Bs for homeless people.

With 1,007 families in homeless accommodation, it said it wants the Government to deliver on what was promised in the Rebuilding Ireland action plan so that hotels would only have to be used as emergency accommodation in limited circumstances by mid-2017.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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