Environment Minister Alan Kelly warned the Taoiseach in October that failure to tackle the country’s unprecedented level of homelessness would leave families without a roof over their heads for Christmas.
Mr Kelly issued the warning two months before Enda Kenny told the Dáil there was no reason for anyone to sleep rough in Dublin over Christmas unless they wanted to. Despite Mr Kenny’s assurances, charities estimated 1,000 children under eight were left homeless over the holidays.
In a letter to the Taoiseach on October 2, Mr Kelly and junior minister Paudie Coffey said there was no indication that the crisis would ease before the end of the year and warned that while intervening in the property market was not without risk that “the risk of doing nothing is far greater from a social and economic perspective”.
“At the current rate of homeless presentations, the various housing solutions currently being implemented will not be sufficient to provide safe, secure and suitable accommodation for the additional families expected between now and Christmas,” the ministers wrote.
“We are very concerned that the current situation presents a significant risk of untoward events regarding the safety and wellbeing of families who may find themselves homeless and without accommodation in the coming weeks,” they wrote.
Mr Kenny was also warned that of the 607 homeless families in Dublin at the time more than 380, or 63%, were in unsuitable and precarious accommodation.
Two months later, Mr Kenny told the Dáil there was no reason for anyone to sleep rough in Dublin over Christmas unless they wanted to. In late October, the Government approved plans to deliver 500 modular houses to help tackle the homelessness crisis which would house at least 22 families by Christmas.
None of the 22 units that were to be fast-tracked have been delivered with the project yesterday hitting another delay. The first four will not be completed for at least another three weeks
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