Rebuilding Ireland ‘an abject failure’

One of the country’s main homelessness campaigners has described the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan as “an abject failure” which exacerbated the problem it was meant to address.

Rebuilding Ireland ‘an abject failure’

By Joe Leogue, Noel Baker, and Eoin English

One of the country’s main homelessness campaigners has described the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan as “an abject failure” which exacerbated the problem it was meant to address.

On the third anniversary of the launch of Rebuilding Ireland, Fr Peter McVerry of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice (JCFJ), also of the McVerry Trust, said the Government now needed to adopt a fundamentally different approach to the homelessness crisis.

The JCFJ said the five pillars of Rebuilding Ireland — homelessness, social housing, supply, rental sector, and vacant homes — had effectively collapsed.

It said homelessness has been “normalised” since the plan launched and the number of people in emergency accommodation had increased by two-thirds in three years.

“The official figures for those who are homeless has been above 10,000 for most of this year, which is 65% higher than when the plan intended to solve this problem was launched. That the figure is so high it ought to be a cause of national shame to a society as wealthy as contemporary Ireland.”

Fr McVerry’s comments come following the discovery of the body of a man in his 20s who was recently released from prison and was sleeping rough on the same Cork street where a homeless man was found dead last month. Gardaí were called to Lower Oliver Plunkett St yesterday where the man’s body was discovered. He was removed to Cork University Hospital for post mortem.

“The results of the post mortem will determine the course of the investigation. A file will be prepared for the Coroners Court,” a garda spokesperson said.

Last month, the body of a 47-year-old Polish man was found on the same street, near the Simon homeless shelter.There have been four deaths of homeless people on Cork streets in the past three months.

On the third anniversary of the launch of Rebuilding Ireland, Fr McVerry of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice (JCFJ), also of the McVerry Trust, delivered a critique of the Rebuilding Ireland plan and said the government now needed to adopt a fundamentally different approach to the homelessness crisis.

The JCFJ critique will be published today and comes just days after the Simon Communities in Ireland also criticised the lack of progress as a result of the plan and said the government needed to change its focus.

He claimed the responsibility of building more homes has now been left almost exclusively to private developers, which had been “catastrophic” for market affordability.

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