Crisis summit on homelessness after vigil

A summit to address the homeless crisis will take place tomorrow after an outpouring of grief over the death of Jonathan Corrie just metres from Leinster House. 

Crisis summit on homelessness after vigil

The summit will take place in Dublin and was announced by Alan Kelly, the environment minister, following numerous calls for prompt and serious measures to ease the crisis around rough sleeping.

The calling of the summit came as Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said a church building in the north inner city would be made available to house homeless families — hopefully before Christmas.

Flowers, rosary beads, and makeshift remembrance cards were yesterday left at the spot on Molesworth St near Leinster House, where the body of Mr Corrie had been discovered early on Monday morning.

Last night, a vigil was held at the spot. Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, Seán Barrett, decided that the ceremonial switching on of the Oireachtas Christmas tree lights — scheduled for yesterday evening — would be postponed.

Homeless people stood with TDs to mark the tragedy as they lined-up with candles outside the Leinster House gates as a mark of respect for Mr Corrie, as well as to draw attention to the problem of rough sleeping.

Opposition TDs accused the Government of not treating the situation with enough urgency, while Mr Kelly said the issue was not one of funding, as he insisted long-term homelessness would be eradicated by 2016.

Earlier, Archbishop Martin expressed “deep sorrow” at Mr Corrie’s death and said it was hoped the diocesan building — currently the subject of discussions with homelessness authorities in Dublin — could provide shelter for up to 30 to 40 people by Christmas.

Pat Doyle, CEO of the McVerry Trust, said it was seeking an extra 30 emergency beds before Christmas, as well as an additional 30 in a joint enterprise with Focus Ireland, but stressed the Government would have to step in and fund the extra beds.

It is understood Mr Corrie was originally from Carlow and had been known to the Rough Sleeper teams in the capital in recent years. It is believed that as recently as last week, he was using an emergency bed offered by Dublin Simon.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive — which co-ordinates homeless services across all four local authority areas in the capital — said it did not have data on the number of homeless people who have died so far this year, but stressed that people dying while sleeping rough was rare.

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