The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed that it had a bed available for a homeless man being helped by campaigner Fr Peter McVerry last night, but whose identity could not be verified and who therefore could not be accommodated.
The DRHE's Bevin Herbert confirmed the agency's protocol was to verify the identity of anyone seeking a bed. If - as in last night's case - the person was a first-time user of the service, and therefore not already registered on the DRHE system, he or she is asked to have the Gardaí verify their identity.
This is to ensure they are over 18, to confirm that no warrants are outstanding against them and there is no other security issue. Without garda confirmation regarding their identity, the person cannot be assigned a bed.
"(The protocol around identity) is there to ensure the safety and protection of all our service-users" and to ensure the person's placement in an appropriate service, Ms Herbert said.
Referring to Fr McVerry's furious reaction to events last night (where the man's ID could not be verified and he therefore could not secure a bed with the DRHE), Ms Herbert added: "The protocol is there for good reason...And at the end of the day, if that man had come back to us [assuming gardaí had been able to verify his identity], we had a bed for him."
Homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry has said he was made "absolutely furious" last night that no bed could be found for a homeless man without ID.
This week, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) had assured people there would be a bed for everyone this week.
But Fr McVerry (pictured above) said this is not the case. He told RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke that a man in his 30s came to him last night looking for a bed. When Fr McVerry rang the Dublin regional homeless executive he was told he would have to go to a Garda station for the man's identity to be verified as they did not know him, and that this was their protocol. With no ID, the gardaí would be unable to verify his ID, Fr McVerry said.
As a result, Fr. McVerry was told the man could be given a sleeping bag, but not a bed.
"I said: 'Are you serious in this weather?'... I was absolutely furious," he said today.
This was the man's first experience of homelessness, Fr McVerry said. He was unable to contact the man back as said he had no idea what happened to him.
(We have reached out to DRHE for comment.)
Fr McVerry said the Government needed to build social housing on a massive scale saying that in the 70s/80s, between 7,000 and 8,000 social houses were being built each year.
He also called for temporary legislation (to remain in force for three years) to make it illegal for landlords to evict people into homelessness. He said any concerns that such a law would be in conflict with property rights enshrined in the Constitution should immediately be tested in the Supreme Court, if necessary.
Earlier: 92 people slept rough in Dublin last night; temperatures could drop to -6°C tonight
According to a homeless charity, 92 people slept rough on the streets of Dublin last night.
Inner City Helping Homeless says its outreach teams helped 77 men and 15 women overnight.
The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive confirmed to the Housing Minister yesterday that there were enough beds to provide shelter for those who wished to avail of it.
The Department of Housing published its latest homeless figures last night which revealed 9,753 people accessed emergency accommodation in December.
Met Éireann are warning that temperatures could fall as low as -6°C tonight.
A status yellow snow-ice warning has been extended until midday on Sunday.
The forecaster is warning snow accumulations along with frost and ice could result in treacherous road conditions tonight and tomorrow morning.
Cold and blustery today with outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow. The snow will be mainly on high ground this afternoon. Highest temperatures of only 2 to 6 degrees.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 31, 2019
Tonight there will be some snow on lowers levels as well, mainly over south Leinster and Munster. pic.twitter.com/tt44ISuQvE
Road users are being advised to take care.
Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly says snow is expected to fall on higher ground today, with further areas set to be affected overnight.
"It's very cold as temperatures today only at about 2°C-5°C so invariably some of that rain is going to be sleet," said Ms Donnelly.
"As it gets dark and the temperatures fall further it is more likely to turn to snow.
"There will be a likelihood of snow at higher levels during today but increasing overnight and coming down to lower levels overnight as well."
Temperatures could drop to -6°C tonight
Motorists are being warned to take care this morning following wintry conditions overnight.
Temperatures dropped to -4°C in places and could plunge to as low as -6°C tonight.
Bitterly cold and rather windy today. Outbreaks of wintry rain turning heavy and persistent, especially in southern counties. The rain will also turn to sleet and snow for a time over parts of Connacht, Leinster and inland Munster. pic.twitter.com/w6DO8r0OuH— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 31, 2019
"Overnight temperatures down as low as -6°C under clearer skies so that means that where the cloud persists and where the snow and the rain is they are more likely to be around 0°C to -2°C or -3°C," said Joanna Donnelly, meteorologist with Met Éireann.
"The colder air is likely to be under the clearer skies."
Wintry showers expected following freezing temperatures overnight
All road users are being urged to take extra care this morning after icy conditions overnight.
Temperatures plunged to as low as -4°C in parts of the country with Met Éireann's yellow snow and ice warning still in place.
The lowest temperature recorded by Met Éireann at 6am this morning was at Dublin Airport where it was -5.8°C.
It was followed by Mullingar at -4.8°C, Mount Dillon -4°C and Oak Park -3.7°C.
Most motorways and main routes have been gritted, but local authorities are advising that not all secondary and minor roads have been treated.
.....mainly occur on higher ground, some lower levels may see moderate accumulations. Highs of only 2 to 7 degrees, with an added wind chill factor, owing to a fresh to strong and gusty east to southeast wind.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 31, 2019
More wintry showers are expected today, especially on higher ground.
"Road conditions are wet this morning in parts of Munster, particularly around Cork City, Waterford City and Tralee while icy conditions have been reported around Thurles and Letterkenny this morning," said Elaine O'Sullivan from AA Roadwatch.
"In Wicklow, the Old Military Road remains closed between Glencree and Sally Gap following icy conditions yesterday.
#TenTips for driving in snow & ice - Make sure you can see! Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out! Carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen- it can crack the glass. Demist the inside of your windows thoroughly https://t.co/FryD3KqSpc pic.twitter.com/aDZpz6oJB3— RSA Ireland (@RSAIreland) January 30, 2019
"Gardaí are also advising motorists to avoid the Sally Gap Road but Wicklow Gap is open this morning."
Motorists are reminded that it does take 10 times longer to stop on icy roads so it is important to slow down and take manoeuvres gently.