Families given emergency accommodation in hotel rooms are spending St Patrick’s weekend on the streets after they were pushed out to make room for tourists.
Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe noted than many homeless people are being ejected from emergency accommodation to cater for the upsurge in demand for rooms from visitors travelling to Ireland for the annual celebrations.
The Dublin South West representative added most have “literally nowhere to go”.
He said: “Homeless families are facing into St Patrick’s weekend with nowhere to stay or go that weekend. If they’re lucky they’ll get to sleep on a friend’s floor or maybe in a car.”
Mr Crowe said: “A weekend that should be a positive celebration of Irishness will now unfortunately have a negative impact on the homelessness situation.”
Latest figures from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive show 60% of homeless families in the Dublin area have been in emergency accommodation for more than six months, while 40% have been in hotels, B&Bs, or hostels for at least a year.
Currently, 138 families in Dublin have spent more than 18 months in emergency accommodation and there are around 700 homeless families in total nationwide.
Mr Crowe said that equated to approximately 2,300 homeless children. He condemned this “disgraceful” situation but insisted hotel rooms are the only way to keep these families, and children, off the streets.
Mr Crowe added: “We know many of these families are living in inappropriate, unsuitable, and insecure accommodation but it’s the only alternative they have to living on the street.
“This [shortage of accommodation] is a problem in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, every time there’s a big event on and unfortunately that’s the way the system operates here.”
Another Sinn Fein TD, Eoin O Broin, has said he has also been contacted by families who have been told to leave their accommodation, amid reports that some of those living in the rented sector have been asked to move out in order to make room for more lucrative short-term holiday lets.
Deputy Crowe warned tourists planning to visit Dublin are going to be horrified when they see the number of homeless people in the capital.
He said: “I have no doubt many infrequent visitors to Ireland, and Dublin in particular, will be shocked by the amount of homeless people living on the street. The reality is, this is the Ireland we live in.”
He called on the government to adopt recommendations made by both the Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust this week on returning vacant homes to public use.
“Homeless families are facing into St Patrick’s weekend with nowhere to stay or go for that weekend. There is no emergency plan, no emergency measures, and no solutions coming from the government as they head off to other parts of the globe.”