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Government trying to deflect from their inaction on homelessness

Deputy Joanna Tuffy claimed that two of the country’s leading homeless charities - Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust - were not doing enough to tackle the homeless crisis.

She stated that because neither organisation was taking out loans from a particular government loan fund (the Housing Finance Agency), we were failing to provide much needed social housing.

In reality, both organisations have been increasing the number of homes they provide at an exceptional rate, and both have ambitious plans for the future.

The reason neither organisation availed of that particular government fund is that, at the time terms were being agreed, loans from commercial banks provided better value for money. Surely what matters is the homes we provide, rather than whether we take loans from a particular Government fund?

Now in a letter to your paper (Irish Examiner, August 26), Deputy Tuffy claims that she was ‘only asking questions’ and claims that our organisations are ‘surprised’ to be asked to account for public funds.

Both organisations have an excellent track record of transparency and openness.

If we are ‘surprised’ by Deputy Tuffy’s questions it is because she decided to ‘ask’ them by way of making accusations on the front page of a Sunday newspaper. In our experience, a letter, e-mail, phone call or an invitation to an Oireachtas Committee are better means of seeking information.

We have replied to Deputy Tuffy’s questions in detail.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Deputy Tuffy attacked two of the leading homeless charities to deflect attention from the difficulties her Government is facing in addressing the escalating homeless crisis.

She is now resorting to ‘I was only asking’ when she realises just how much our organisations have actually delivered.

The sad irony is that both organisations are working closely with local and national Government to rise to the challenge of the homeless crisis, and Deputy Tuffy’s attacks are just a distraction for everyone concerned.

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy

Focus Ireland

9-12 High Street

Dublin


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