It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Solidarity TDs — not always known for sober assessment — are correct in arguing that there appears to be a co-ordinated by the Government to “spin” the narrative on the housing crisis.
Whether or not this amounts to homelessness denial is debatable but it is notable that there have been justifications of the situation in one form or another made by the Taoiseach, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Junior Minister Damien English, Conor Skehan of the Housing Agency and Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.
Each of their contributions to the debate on the crisis is unacceptable, from Varadkar’s assertion that our homeless figures are relatively low internationally, to Murphy’s moan about rent statistics, English’s whinge about the media coverage and Skehan’s advice not to get “emotional” on the subject.
Most disgraceful of all comments came from Gleeson who asserted that people who assist the homeless are making the situation worse and that homelessness does not happen overnight and can often be attributed to errant behaviour. She has since acknowledged that she “probably could have used better language”. We heartily concur.
Nevertheless, it is depressing that the people with the power to do something to tackle the homeless crisis are those who display the least understanding of its origins and effects.
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