During Dublin protest activists call on Government to act on homelessness

Homeless activists and trade unionists took to Dublin's streets yesterday as part of a protest to highlight the capital's ongoing homelessness crisis.

The May Day march saw protesters weave through the streets of the city centre as they called on the Government to act on the worsening situation in the capital.

Homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry was among those who led the protests, as he demanded more action from the Government during a public address.

He believes current strategies are not sufficient in dealing with the crisis, and called for the implementation of more radical measures to help people get off the streets.

Fianna Fail claimed that there are serious questions over the figures being released by the Government in relation to the number of houses being built.

The party’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen said people have woken up to the spin on housing and are showing their frustration by taking to the streets in protest.

He said hundreds of people are marching in Dublin to call for Government action to address the escalating housing crisis.

He said: “The Government keeps pushing the message that housing is its number one priority but unfortunately the results of a series of action plans to address the crisis to date have been extremely disappointing.

“Minister Coveney record in delivering social and affordable housing is poor, and attempts to overstate the number of housing completions have backfired in the wake of new census figures.

“Fine Gael in Government has presided over the lowest number of social housing completions in more than 20 years – will just 4,000 homes constructed between 2011 and 2016.

“That is significantly less than the annual figures between 1994-2009. This fall off in social housing is one of the main contributors to the current crisis and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency because the private sector is simply unable to meet the current housing demand.”

He said that despite big plans homelessness is getting worse instead of better.

Deputy Cowen added: “Despite a succession of grand plans, which Minister Coveney has been rolling out over the past 10 months, homelessness levels have risen month on month.

“This is proof that these initiatives are not tackling the problems at the heart of this crisis. We need targeted plans which tackle homelessness, supply issues and which encourage construction.

“Instead of focusing on one area at a time we need to combine our efforts to ensure a more cohesive housing strategy that will effectively deal with the issues facing tens of thousands of families across the country”.

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