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Sinn Féin wins EU commitment to end Street Homelessness by 2015

10 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has described today’s announcement at the European Parliamentary plenary session that Written Declaration 111 committing the EU to ending street homelessness by 2015 as hugely significant. Ms McDonald is one of five MEPs who sponsored this written declaration which achieved the required majority support in order for the declaration to become Parliamentary policy. This is just the second written declaration sponsored by an Irish MEP to realise majority support since the 2004 elections.


Speaking from Brussels the Dublin MEP said:


“Today’s announcement has huge significance and I am delighted with what we as parliamentarians have achieved. Support for written declarations are regularly sought but rarely realise the majority of MEP signatures required to enable them to become Parliamentary policy.


“The key element of this achievement is that the European Parliament has now made a commitment to end street homelessness in all member states by 2015. The Parliament can actively pressure the European Council, Commission and member states to explain their failure to act on the commitment should it appear at any stage the date of 2015 is in jeopardy.


“Importantly today’s announcement puts a renewed political impetus into the Irish government’s commitment to end street homelessness by 2010. By delivering on our domestic commitment of 2010 Ireland can set an example and lead the way in ensuring all EU member states meet the 2015 deadline.


“In December 2006 of last year I launched a major European initiative to end homelessness in all EU member states by 2015. I called for the introduction of emergency winter plans for the homeless and for annual progress reports on member state initiatives to reduce homelessness. All of this has been accomplished in Written Declaration 111.


“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.


“Homelessness is one of the big challenges facing the European Union, a challenge we are more than capable of overcoming if we set ourselves a strategic approach that delivers results. The objective of ending street homelessness in all EU member states can and should be achieved. It simply needs the political will of member state governments and EU institutions to make it happen. Today is the first step in realising this vision.” CRÍOCH


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