Mary-Lou McDonald accuses Taoiseach of 'normalising child homelessness'

Mary-Lou McDonald accuses Taoiseach of 'normalising child homelessness'

The Taoiseach has been accused of "normalising child homelessness" after being questioned on the more than 800 children who were discharged from Temple Street Hospital with no fixed address.

Homeless children attending the emergency department of the Dublin hospital jumped by 29% last year figures released on Tuesday show.

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin president Mary-Lou McDonald hit out at the Government's track record on addressing the housing and homelessness crisis.

"You have normalised child homelessness and it seems you make no apology for it," she told the Táoiseach.

Leo Varadkar said his Government have introduced many measures to help struggling families including free GP care for children under six years of age, the extension of maternity benefit, the introduction of mandatory reporting and two years of free preschool.

Mary-Lou McDonald accuses Taoiseach of 'normalising child homelessness'

While the official figures are not yet available, Mr Varadkar said that around 8,000 extra social houses were provided last year.

However, he admitted that bringing a child to hospital is a "very stressful experience" for any parent but that is "compounded" when families are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.

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