Homeless executive says identity protocol is necessary in assigning emergency beds

Latest: The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed that it had a bed available for a homeless man being helped by campaigner Fr Peter McVerry last night, but whose identity could not be verified and who therefore could not be accommodated.

The DRHE's Bevin Herbert confirmed the agency's protocol was to verify the identity of anyone seeking a bed. If - as in last night's case - the person was a first-time user of the service, and therefore not already registered on the DRHE system, he or she is asked to have the Gardaí verify their identity.

This is to ensure they are over 18, to confirm that no warrants are outstanding against them and there is no other security issue. Without garda confirmation regarding their identity, the person cannot be assigned a bed.

"(The protocol around identity) is there to ensure the safety and protection of all our service-users" and to ensure the person's placement in an appropriate service, Ms Herbert said.

Referring to Fr McVerry's furious reaction to events last night (where the man's ID could not be verified and he therefore could not secure a bed with the DRHE), Ms Herbert added: "The protocol is there for good reason...And at the end of the day, if that man had come back to us [assuming gardaí had been able to verify his identity], we had a bed for him."

Earlier:

Fr Peter McVerry 'absolutely furious' no bed available for man with no ID; temperatures could drop to -6°C tonight

Homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry has said he was made "absolutely furious" last night that no bed could be found for a homeless man without ID.

This week, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) had assured people there would be a bed for everyone this week.

But Fr McVerry (pictured above) said this is not the case. He told RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke that a man in his 30s came to him last night looking for a bed. When Fr McVerry rang the Dublin regional homeless executive he was told he would have to go to a Garda station for the man's identity to be verified as they did not know him, and that this was their protocol. With no ID, the gardaí would be unable to verify his ID, Fr McVerry said.

As a result, Fr. McVerry was told the man could be given a sleeping bag, but not a bed.

"I said: 'Are you serious in this weather?'... I was absolutely furious," he said today.

This was the man's first experience of homelessness, Fr McVerry said. He was unable to contact the man back as said he had no idea what happened to him.

(We have reached out to DRHE for comment.)

Fr McVerry said the Government needed to build social housing on a massive scale saying that in the 70s/80s, between 7,000 and 8,000 social houses were being built each year.

He also called for temporary legislation (to remain in force for three years) to make it illegal for landlords to evict people into homelessness. He said any concerns that such a law would be in conflict with property rights enshrined in the Constitution should immediately be tested in the Supreme Court, if necessary.

Earlier: 92 people slept rough in Dublin last night; temperatures could drop to -6°C tonight

According to a homeless charity, 92 people slept rough on the streets of Dublin last night.

Inner City Helping Homeless says its outreach teams helped 77 men and 15 women overnight.

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive confirmed to the Housing Minister yesterday that there were enough beds to provide shelter for those who wished to avail of it.

The Department of Housing published its latest homeless figures last night which revealed 9,753 people accessed emergency accommodation in December.

Met Éireann are warning that temperatures could fall as low as -6°C tonight.

A status yellow snow-ice warning has been extended until midday on Sunday.

The forecaster is warning snow accumulations along with frost and ice could result in treacherous road conditions tonight and tomorrow morning.

Road users are being advised to take care.

Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly says snow is expected to fall on higher ground today, with further areas set to be affected overnight.

"It's very cold as temperatures today only at about 2°C-5°C so invariably some of that rain is going to be sleet," said Ms Donnelly.

"As it gets dark and the temperatures fall further it is more likely to turn to snow.

"There will be a likelihood of snow at higher levels during today but increasing overnight and coming down to lower levels overnight as well."

Temperatures could drop to -6°C tonight

Update 10.20am: Motorists are being warned to take care this morning following wintry conditions overnight.

Temperatures dropped to -4°C in places and could plunge to as low as -6°C tonight.

"Overnight temperatures down as low as -6°C under clearer skies so that means that where the cloud persists and where the snow and the rain is they are more likely to be around 0°C to -2°C or -3°C," said Joanna Donnelly, meteorologist with Met Éireann.

"The colder air is likely to be under the clearer skies."

Wintry showers expected following freezing temperatures overnight

Update 7am: All road users are being urged to take extra care this morning after icy conditions overnight.

Temperatures plunged to as low as -4°C in parts of the country with Met Éireann's yellow snow and ice warning still in place.

The lowest temperature recorded by Met Éireann at 6am this morning was at Dublin Airport where it was -5.8°C.

It was followed by Mullingar at -4.8°C, Mount Dillon -4°C and Oak Park -3.7°C.

Most motorways and main routes have been gritted, but local authorities are advising that not all secondary and minor roads have been treated.

More wintry showers are expected today, especially on higher ground.

"Road conditions are wet this morning in parts of Munster, particularly around Cork City, Waterford City and Tralee while icy conditions have been reported around Thurles and Letterkenny this morning," said Elaine O'Sullivan from AA Roadwatch.

"In Wicklow, the Old Military Road remains closed between Glencree and Sally Gap following icy conditions yesterday.

"Gardaí are also advising motorists to avoid the Sally Gap Road but Wicklow Gap is open this morning."

Motorists are reminded that it does take 10 times longer to stop on icy roads so it is important to slow down and take manoeuvres gently.

More on this topic

Sunshine to come to an end as heavy and thundery showers expected

Country set for continued warm weather over Bank Holiday weekend

Easter Sun-days: Temperatures to reach 23 degrees this weekend

Ireland will be hotter than Spain during the Bank Holiday weekend

More in this Section

Man pleads guilty to burglary and assault charges

‘Lock me up, I won’t do community service’

The Lotto results are in...

McDonald and Foster 'ready' for restored Assembly following challenge at Lyra McKee funeral


Lifestyle

Limerick is once again coming up with some innovative new artistic ventures

More From The Irish Examiner