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Minister evades question on leap cards for homeless families during the summer break – Ó Broin & Mitchell

19 June, 2019 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD, Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Minister Eoghan Murphy of being disingenuous in the response he gave when he was questioned on the provision of free Leap cards for homeless families during the summer break.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“My colleague Denise Mitchell, our spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, and I today questioned why Ministers Zappone and Murphy are unwilling to fund leap cards for homeless families during the school holidays.

“We have both raised this issue consistently with the Ministers responsible trying to get an answer on something which would have a positive impact on the day to day lives of families in emergency accommodation and little impact on the State’s purse.

“Recent reports from the Ombudsman for Children, The Children’s Rights Alliance, and academics have highlighted the negative developmental impacts both physically and emotionally on children and teenagers who are living in emergency accommodation.

“In his response to us today, the Minister for Housing gave the misleading impression that the government was providing temporary free Leap cards to homeless families while they sought a more permanent solution.

“However, when my office sought clarification on this from the National Transport Authority, it became clear that Minister Murphy was being disingenuous in response.

“The 2019 Kids go Free scheme that runs for the month of July will allow all children under the age of 15 free Leap card travel. This is similar to the NTA’s 2018 Kids go Free scheme.

“This initiative is in no way related to the Minister for Housing nor the Rebuilding Ireland commitment to ensure access to free public transport for homeless families.

“Minister Murphy should stop hiding behind the positive initiatives from other State agencies and sit down with Minister Zappone to offer a genuine travel solution for these families.” 

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