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Call on Minister to prevent loss of beds for homeless children in Eastern region

7 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Social Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has called on the Minister for Social and Family Affairs Séamus Brennan and the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney to intervene immediately to prevent the loss of six of only 13 emergency beds in the whole of the Eastern region for newly homeless children.

Deputy Crowe has learned that from tomorrow, December 8th, it is proposed to cut six emergency places in three Dublin city hostels, leaving only seven such places in the whole of Counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. These places are vital for newly homeless children as they assist in preventing them from becoming chronically homeless.

Deputy Crowe said:

"The Northern Area Health Board, which runs this service for the Eastern Region, is proposing from tomorrow to close six of only 13 emergency beds which are supposed to cater for newly homeless children in the whole of Counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. It would be scandalous if this were allowed to go ahead. Service-providers cannot believe that such a callous cut is being made.

"These places are vital as they provide an essential refuge for children who have just been made homeless. They allow the social services to intervene early and prevent these children from becoming victims of drug addiction, prostitution and victimisation by other homeless young people who sometimes exploit them. After a Budget which did nothing for homelessness it would be incredible if almost half of the emergency places for the most vulnerable children in this city and this region were to be axed.

"I am calling on the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and the Minister for Health and Children to intervene directly now and to prevent these appalling cuts to vital services." ENDS

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