Republican News · Thursday 23 July 1998

[An Phoblacht]

Homelessness rising in Dublin

By Michael Pierse

North Inner City Dublin SF Councillor Christy Burke has slammed the current homelessness situation on the streets of Dublin as being a mockery of the `Celtic Tiger' hype.

Burke was responding to information from the Dublin City Manager that numbers on the homeless application list are now at 1,257, while a source within Dublin Corporation confirmed that ``there appears to be an increase'' in both the levels on the list and people living on the streets (the distinction being that many on the list are co-habitating with friends or relatives while awaiting accommodation).

This situation may seem absurd to Dubliners who have become accustomed in recent years to a booming building industry which has transformed the city with new housing and expensive apartments. Why, then the ever increasing homelessness in the city?

Councillor Burke says that part of the problem is ``the ridiculously inadequate funding provided for investment in individual properties. The capping of expenditure on the Corporation's buying of private houses at 60,000 per house means that there are no vacancies arising.'' Even the smallest house or apartment is priced higher than 60,000 and thus people on low income simply can't get housing by this route.

The 60,000 cap is supported by many right-wing Fine Gael and some Fianna Fáil Councillors.

other problem is the identification of land. Councillor Burke is to propose that ``all new private development in Dublin must allocate a percentage of that to the Corporation.'' Burke also pointed out that the City Manager can make an idependent decision, without the approval of the Council, to increase the grant allocation for housing in the city.

According to the Corporation, the homelessness increase has also resulted from the increasing rent prices throughout the city. Many people are being evicted from their homes as a result of ``an inability or unwillingness on behalf of the Eastern Health Board to up their rent allowance cheques,'' a source said.

Meanwhile, in the middle of an unprecedented housing boom, Dublin's homeless crisis is escalating.

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