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Sinn Féin Cork County Councillors to hold “sleep out” at County Hall to highlight homelessness and housing crisis - Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

15 October, 2015 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Sinn Féin's Cork County Councillors will hold a sleep out on Friday 16th to highlight the issue of homelessness and the housing crisis in Cork.

They have picked the date to coincide with the Focus Ireland Sleepout taking place at locations around Ireland that night. The group of Councillors will be sleeping outside the County Hall from 6pm on Friday Night to 6am on Saturday. They have invited supporters to participate.

According to Sinn Féin Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire the action has a purpose that is twofold.

He said;

"We are doing this to raise some money for homeless charities, and have been collecting money through sponsorship. However, we are also doing it to make a point. The issue of homelessness, and the housing crisis generally, is a problem that is escalating. I am concerned, after looking at the budget, that the political will does not exist to tackle it.

“In Cork, between City and County, there are some 15,000 people on the Housing lists. Finding Rental Accommodation near the City, particularly for those on low and middle incomes is nearly impossible. Throughout the state, nearly 1400 children are in emergency accommodation.

"The Simon Community found the Budget bitterly disappointing, as it has failed to tackle a rental sector that is out of control. The level of capital funding for social housing is also inadequate. They are essentially running to stand still."

“Fine Gael and the Labour Party are in denial. This is a national emergency. Government TDs, including Ciarán Lynch and Jerry Buttimer, recently voted down a Sinn Féin Dáil motion that would have officially seen it declared it as such, allowing the state to access additional resources through the EU to help address the issue. The government’s approach to the situation is absolutely delusional. They are clearly not taking this crisis seriously enough."

"We also feel that Local Authorities have a role to play. Local Authorities have to ensure, with Government support, that they can deliver the social housing needed to resolve this crisis. They must also ensure that homelessness services are funded adequately."

“As we did last year, we will be proposing a significant increase in Cork County Council's Homelessness Service Contribution.  In my view, the €299,166 allocated in 2014 was completely inadequate.

“According to Public, Cork County spends 91c per head of population on Homeless Services. This is compared to €45.15 in Cork City, or even in more rural counties,  €6.91 in Kerry, €5.28 in Kilkenny, €6.39 in Longford. This is simply not good enough. We will be seeking an increase at budget time.

“Therefore, as well as raising funds for charities, we are highlighting the severity of the crisis and the inaction of the Government. Anyone who wishes to support us can join us at the County Hall from 6pm on Friday to 6am on Saturday.”

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