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Taoiseach agrees to Adams proposal for Dáil debate on homeless crisis

2 December, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Uachtaráin Sinn Féin Gerry Adams today asked the Taoiseach to facilitate an emergency Dáil debate on homeless crisis, a crisis which was sharply brought to light yesterday with the death of Jonathon Corrie in a doorway, just metres away from the entrance of the Dáil.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders Questions, Gerry Adams said:

“People across Ireland have been shocked and saddened to hear of the death yesterday of Jonathan Corrie in a doorway on Molesworth Street, less than 50 yards from the gates of Leinster House.

“Our thoughts today are with Jonathan’s family and his loved ones at this very sad time. But we need to do more than that.

“I, and others, have been raising the Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis for ages now.

“So the Government should not be surprised at how it is, in this day and age, that a man can die on the streets of our capital, just yards from parliament because he did not have a home.

“The truth is that Jonathan Corrie was failed by this state.

I listened this morning to Sophie Piggott, the woman who found Johnathan, talking on the Seán O’Rourke show.

“She struck me as being a very caring, modest person. She told how she tried to get Jonathon help. She said ‘We are a small society. He could have been my second cousin’. That’s the truth of it. 

“I went to where Jonathon died earlier today to pay my respects. There were bouquets of flowers, some with notes attached. One said: ‘Jonathan RIP. I feel privileged to have known you. You were an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to chat to. I’ll miss seeing you around and stopping for a chat.”

“The other said: ‘In loving memory of Jonathan Corry RIP, who died bravely in the cold in a Dublin doorway. I feel ashamed that in a country full of spare houses and rooms, that we did not put a roof over your head. Now is the time for Government, NAMA, developers, Councils, the public, to take action as a national emergency’.

“The number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has surged by 20% in a year, with 168 expected to be on the streets this Christmas — three times higher than when records began in 2007.

“In my own Louth constituency there are currently 30 people sleeping rough on the streets.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach to facilitate an emergency Dáil debate on the State’s escalating and chronic homeless crisis.

He said the Government’s social housing strategy, published last week, is fatally flawed:

“It fails to provide any response to the present homeless crisis. It has nothing to say on the crucial issue of rent supplement caps or rent controls, despite the fact that spiraling private rents are pushing families into homelessness every day.

“As for the 35,000 promised social houses, the numbers just don’t add up. The levels of direct Government investment in the plan merely reverses cuts to capital spending, which you have introduced since 2011.

“Clearly you are hoping that the private sector fills the hole you are creating. But the reason for the ongoing housing crisis is that this State has for decades sought to give responsibility for social housing to the private sector.”

The Sinn Fein Leader said the Government must recognise that local authorities and voluntary housing associations are best placed to deliver the homes that people need and that housing bodies needed a level of direct State investment far above that indicated in the latest Government strategy.

In his response, the Taoiseach agreed with Mr Adams proposal for an emergency Dáil debate on on the homeless crisis.

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