Ireland has had four housing ministers since March 2011. Only Phil Hogan served more than three years in the position. Simon Coveney was responsible for just 13 months. These musical chairs have not stemmed the rise of homelessness. The latest report from the Department of Housing shows that the number of people without a home continues to rise. Figures show that 10,338 people need emergency accommodation but some NGOs suggest it may be higher. Outside of Dublin, the South-West region, including Cork, recorded this highest number of homeless people at 583.
The Dublin accommodation provider Depaul yesterday reported a 18% drop in the number of people able to leave its services last year and that it helped 881 children last year, an increase of 13% on the previous year.
This relentless growth of homelessness, in one of the world’s richest countries, can no longer be explained by anything other than a lack of will and, as Peter McVerry warned, ideology. It is impossible to accept that had any of those four ministers — and two taoisigh — could not have had a more positive impact if they had the vision, backbone and simple humanity this crisis demands. Rather, we see a resurgence in corporate landlordism and the exploitation that brings.
Homelessness is just a facet of this crisis, one government after government has failed to tackle in any meaningful way.
Shame on them and shame on us for tolerating it.