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Sinn Féin leads call for European action to end homelessness

11 December, 2007

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald today launched a major European initiative to end homelessness in all EU member states by 2015. Ms McDonald will be joined by colleagues from France, Britain, Poland and FEANTSA.


The Dublin MEP said:


If we are to tacklehomelessness in the long term we need a European wide strategic approach that delivers results.


“I have called for the introduction of emergency winter plans for the homeless. I have also called for annual progress reports on member state initiatives to reduce homelessness. Most importantly this EU initiative intends to end street homelessness across the EU by 2015.


“It is estimated that some 5,000 people are homeless in Ireland, 629 of these are children. In Dublin alone approximately 1,500 adults and 485 children, the majority of whom are under 11 years of age, have been identified as homeless. These are only estimates. I have no doubt that the true figure of homelessness is in fact bleaker.


'The figures for premature mortality of the homeless released by The Simon Community today are alarming, but sadly predictable.  They are just one indicator of the failure of Government to honour its commitments to society’s most vulnerable. 


'The Government is not serious about ending homelessness. Where is the investment in social housing, temporary accommodation and social supports necessary to make this a reality?


“The evidence is that the government is content to take a minimalist approach that lacks innovation and does not deliver for those most in need.


“There is no serious effort to house the 40,000 plus families on local authority housing lists. Where is the government plan to end the scandal of people sleeping rough in the doorways and on the streets of Ireland?


“Whilst it is disappointing that we need to look to Europe address this social scandal the EU can play a constructive role in ensuring that there is accurate measurement of homelessness.


“We are calling for support for this initiative from all members of the European Parliament. We are also making clear the need for urgent progress by the member states. Words are not enough. It is now time for action.” CRÍOCH



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