Clearest evidence yet that Government has failed most vulnerable
The Green Party representative on Social Protection, Charlie Ridgway, came out with a scathing attack on the government’s record and rhetoric on protecting the most vulnerable after figures were released that show that the number of people sleeping on the streets of Dublin has increased 50% since April this year.
Mr. Ridgway stated, “It just shows the emptiness of all the talk from government, particularly around budget time, in relation to protecting the most vulnerable. Is there any more vulnerable group in society than people who have no option but to sleep on the streets? We have seen the consequences of this in recent times – there are people dying on our streets who might well have been alive today had there been a bed for them for the night.”
“I know for a fact that every night on Dublin’s Homeless Freephone line people are being refused a bed for the night due to homeless services being inadequately funded.”
“It might not be a popular thing to say, but I think the NGO’s in the area also need to look hard at themselves and the role they are playing. The homeless services sector is now highly professionalised and in many ways politicised. The complexity of homeless services, with all the NGO interests involved, needs to be examined and questions need to be asked as to the best allocation of resources and configuration of services to make sure that people do not sleep on our streets and have adequate supports to move to independent accommodation.”
“In the past, if you were homeless you were homeless, but now there are unnecessarily complex criteria to fulfil before you are given adequate assistance. This has lead to a situation where a lot of homeless services providers are now making the decisions on who is a ‘deserving homeless person’ and who is an ‘undeserving homeless person’. I fear that with increased professionalisation has come a growth in the idea of managing homelessness rather than pulling out all the stops to eliminate it.”
“Frankly it is a national disgrace that in 2013 in Ireland we are letting people sleep on our streets and having to deny them a bed for the night. This has been a worsening crisis for many years and this government has made abundantly clear that it does not see it as a political priority.”
“Nobody is saying that homelessness is not a complex issue, but what we are talking about here is a simple guarantee of very basic human dignity for everyone in Ireland if they fall on hard times. Labour in particular have questions to answer on this, as a party that sells itself as representing social justice issues and caring for society’s less well off.”