A record number of homeless in Dublin over the Christmas period saw over 3,000 meals being delivered on Christmas Day -- two and a half times the demand just four years ago.
More than 500 people took part in an annual dinner for the hungry and homeless at the RDS event centre on Christmas Day, an increase of some 20% from last year.
The demand at the festive soup-kitchen was met by more than 350 volunteers, who provided a meal of soup, turkey, ham, and pudding with custard.
The Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh, was in attendance and said: ‘I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people who have given up their time on Christmas day to volunteer and provide this fantastic day.
‘It’s unfortunate and unacceptable that so many people are homeless again on Christmas Day especially in the lead up to the 1916 anniversary, I’m actually lost for words.’
She added: ‘The biggest indictment of our society at the moment is that there are 1,500 children in Dublin in emergency accommodation on Christmas morning. That is unacceptable.’
In response for action on the housing crisis, the coalition government this week announced the return of small bedsit apartments.
However, it has already been accused of acting to satisfy the demands of crony property developers for increased profit margins, rather than those in need of affordable accomodation.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly claimed the new guidelines on studio apartments would reduce housing costs to tackle a lack of supply.
But Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan said there was no evidence that a reduction in size would result in a corresponding reduction in cost. “I want a city built for people, not battery hens,” he said.
Sinn Fein TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis condemned the plan as ‘shoebox flats’ to profit developers while exploiting those who are struggling to put a roof over their heads.
He said that a major social housing programme was key to solving the housing crisis, but that it “requires political will”.