Government ‘using Trump tactics to downplay the homeless crisis’

Songwriter Glen Hansard has accused the Government of behaving like Donald Trump in its handling of the homeless crisis.

Government ‘using Trump tactics to downplay the homeless crisis’

He said the attempt to “downplay” the crisis is similar to tactics the US President would use.

“The evidence would seem to be there, that they’re heading towards a: ‘Let’s just start downplaying it.’ They’re going for the Trumpisms basically. If that’s their attitude it’s really dangerous because there are so many casualties,” Hansard said.

He was talking at an open-air concert outside the Dáil yesterday organised by Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), where Fr Peter McVerry also spoke.

Fr McVerry said a 12-year-old child could tell the Government its housing strategy is flawed.

“Any 12-year-old child would tell the Government: ‘Your strategy isn’t working’,” he said. “We have 2,000 more people registered now as homeless than when the Government introduced its strategy. How did we get into this mess? Well, the answer is very simple. In 1975, this country built 8,500 social houses. In 1985, and we had a recession in the ‘80s, we still built 6,900 social houses and in 2015, this country built 75 social houses. That’s the problem. If people get evicted from their homes there is no social housing available and they end up homeless.

“There is enough publicly-owned land, zoned residential to build almost 40,000 social houses. Secondly, there are 180,000 empty, boarded-up, perfectly habitable houses and apartments in this country,” he added.

Glen Hansard with homeless campaigner Sheila O’Byrne.
Glen Hansard with homeless campaigner Sheila O’Byrne.

Award-winning playwright Emmet Kirwan also addressed the crowds outside Leinster House yesterday and said if the Government can deal with Brexit it is well able to tackle the housing crisis: “The problem with the Government isn’t that there’s inefficacy or there is an ineptitude. They’re actually quite capable, they’re incredibly intelligent, and when they want to do something they can because it’s in relation to the market.

“The Government is more concerned in ideology and the neoliberal ideology of non-interference in the market. So people are going hungry, people are going homeless and are literally, dying on the steps of this building because they are protecting an ideology rather than protecting their own citizens.”

Housing expert and academic Rory Hearne also spoke at yesterday’s demonstration and said Irish people have been silent far too many times.

Mr Hearne also reminded the crowd of the €1bn “rainy-day fund” that the Government put aside in the recent budget.

“Did you know that they have put €1bn this year into a so-called rainy-day fund? Well excuse my language, but it’s a fucking flood now. There is a tsunami of homeless. Invest that money now,” he said.

The National Homeless and Housing Coalition (NHHC) has arranged what it described as a “major national demonstration” on Saturday, April 7.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.