Homeless campaigners take over Ha'penny Bridge to protest against housing cuts

Protesters took over Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge on Thursday in an ongoing campaign to protest against Ireland's housing crisis.

On the day the Government published their homeless figures for October, now standing at 9,724, Take Back The City took to the bridge to display a banner in protest of housing cuts that they say adversely effect women fleeing domestic violence.

Michelle Connolly from the group, which campaigns for better housing conditions in Ireland, said that the banner drop was part of the 16 Days Of Action Opposing Violence Against Women campaign.

She said: "Domestic violence is a huge cause of homelessness, particularly among young families and women, many of the different groups who make up Take Back The City do tenant outreach and we are seeing people on a weekly basis who are homeless from fleeing domestic abuse.

"We also hear about people who cannot leave horrendously abusive situations because they have nowhere to go, there is nowhere for them.

"We try and highlight the various aspects of the housing crisis, and domestic violence is a very bad situation exasperated by the crisis."

The services that are available for victims are horribly underfunded, they're very good but there is just not enough of them, people are often turned away, there's a lot of bureaucracy involved, some people cannot even get in because of red tape, so a lack of housing can mean there is literally nowhere to turn for some women."

The group, of around 40 people took to the bridge with a megaphone shouting, "Housing is a human right" and "Leo, Leo, Leo, Out, Out, Out" before unfurling a banner on the bridge that read "Housing cuts makes women bleed".

The group say they have been supporting one family in particular who have fled their home due to domestic violence.

They claim the family have applied to be transferred to another area, but Dublin City Council's housing department have yet to complete this process.

A statement provided by Take Back The City said: "Thanks to efforts by services and grassroots groups working with the family, they are now safely accommodated until Monday.

"We are giving Brendan Kenny, Head of Housing in Dublin City Council until 5pm on Monday December 3 to offer secure accommodation and exceptional grounds for a housing transfer.

"If the family don't get this, further action will be taken."

The number of homeless people in Ireland has jumped by 26 in the last month.

The overall number of people who have been left homeless in the run up to Christmas now stands at 9,724.

Latest figures show there are 44 fewer families in emergency accommodation, including 104 fewer children.

Throughout the month of October, 112 families were prevented from entering emergency accommodation in Dublin, while 70 families left emergency accommodation during the same period.

The total number of children who remain homeless in Ireland stands at 3,725 with 2,800 of those living in Dublin.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said there are "still too many families and children" experiencing the housing crisis.

Dublin City Council has been contacted for comment.

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