An urgent debate on how the Government plans to deal with the homelessness emergency between now and Christmas is needed, according to Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
The Galway West - South Mayo senator pointed to the irony of the Christmas markets being set up and the rising number of people sleeping in the streets.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh said: “It is lovely to see Christmas Markets popping up across the place and for thoughts to be turning to the festive season. But it is ironic that we are seeing an increasing number of people sleeping rough in the shadows of these markets.
“We see that regularly now in Galway in places such as Eyre Square, the Fairgreen, Shop Street, Salthill and many other areas. We also heard from COPE at a recent presentation at the County Galway Joint Policing Committee about the issues victims of domestic violence face when trying to find emergency accommodation and we have the ongoing situation of people being turfed out of private rented accommodation by opportunistic landlords.
“There will undoubtedly be many emergency cases in relation to homelessness between now and Christmas and I have called for an urgent debate on these issues with the Government to find out what plans they have for dealing with those unfortunate individuals who find themselves in such an appalling situation at this time of year.”
Citing the death of Jonathan Corrie last year, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said it was vital that Government put a plan in place to provide more emergency accommodation to prevent more deaths again this year.
“We are all aware of the tragic cases of people like Jonathan Corrie who died on the street just yards away from Leinster House. It is incumbent on the Government that similar deaths do not occur in other places across the country and to do that they must have a realistic plan to provide more emergency accommodation immediately.”