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No Fixed Abode - MEP launches exhibition on Homelessness

11 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald this afternoon launched a multimedia exhibition highlighting the issue of homelessness and the housing crisis in Ireland’s capital city.

The exhibition entitled ‘No Fixed Abode’ features the work of 26 year old Fran Veale, from Dublin, who has been a documentary photographer since 2001. His work and features have been published in The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Irish Daily Mail, Sunday Business Post, Irish Examiner, Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. The exhibition also features the work of photographer and Community filmmaker Brendan Dowling.

Speaking ahead of the event the Ms McDonald said:

“Perhaps one of the hardest facts on homelessness for me to accept as an MEP for Dublin is that 955 children in our capital city are facing into Christmas without a home, and half of them are living alone in state care. In total there are at least 2,500 homeless people across the city of Dublin. For most of spending Christmas at home with our families is a given.

“It is time for this to change.

“Earlier this year myself and four other MEPs secured majority support for Written Declaration 111 to end street homelessness throughout the EU by 2015. The Declaration is now policy of the EU Parliament enabling us to actively pressure the European institutions and member states to deliver on the 2015 commitment.

“The Irish government’s homeless strategy ‘The Way Home’ and its imminent implementation plan must also put a renewed impetus on meeting its objective of ending long term homeless by 2010.

“But such solutions must be set against the lack of progress by central government in adequately funding social housing provision, and the acknowledgement that homelessness if the most acute form of housing need.

“To date the Irish government has a poor record of meeting social housing needs in general and homeless housing, failing to meet social and affordable housing targets by as much as 40% in recent years. But this can change. A conclusive and rights based approach by government would simply be to enshrine into law a legal right to housing for those in need.

“Dublin City Council’s (DCC) record of housing homeless people is an example, to both central government and Dublin’s three suburban local authorities, of what can be achieved when you set your mind to it. It has ensured that 24% of its housing allocation has been made to homeless people each year over the last three years. The hard work and dedication of DCC front line staff and voluntary service providers is to be applauded.

“Ending long term homelessness in Ireland by 2010 can be achieved. A political commitment to a programme of delivery can provide a home for the 955 children of this great city who tonight have no home of their own.” ENDS

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