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Census ignores homeless rough sleepers - Seán Crowe TD

3 April, 2016 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has described the 2016 census process as a lost opportunity for accurately documenting all of those living in Ireland. The census is set to ignore the growing homeless problem particularly those ‘rough sleepers’ living on the streets who will not be counted on April 24th.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The census is supposedly a detailed account of everybody who is in the country on this census night of 24 April.

“We are told that the census is important in that it accounts for everybody in the country no matter where they are and the results give the government ‘the information we need now to understand what Ireland needs for the future’. So why are we not collecting vital information on Ireland’s homeless? Do we not want to understand the social and economic reasons for homelessness?

“The current structure of the census excludes so called ‘rough sleepers’. They are excluded because they are not resident in any structure on census night and won’t be included in any data collected.

“Fine Gael and Labour were, and still are, in denial about the extent of the housing and homeless crisis. With the number of homeless people in Dublin at the highest level since figures were first compiled nine years ago it is vital that we have an accurate census of Irish homelessness.

“We need to have accurate figures of those in emergency overnight accommodation as well as the rough sleepers. The census form is unchanged since 2011, and it is a missed opportunity to reflect the real Ireland of 2016.

“The Government need to accept that we are in the middle of a housing crisis and they need to declare an emergency, which necessitates an emergency response with emergency measures.

“Local authorities and homeless charities regularly do their own count but this has largely been ignored by the government and those planning services.

“The census, as currently constituted, will only give planners a partial view of Ireland on the 24 April 2016 and it is a missed opportunity.

“Sadly the rough sleepers will be ignored or airbrushed from reality just as they are ignored on day to day basis as they huddle in doorways trying to keep dry and warm in cities and towns across Ireland.”


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