THE LATEST BLOW FOR THE IRISH HOMELESS

The repeated, shameless message from government: “WE DON’T CARE”.

The Irish Government is stepping on its own people amidst a worsening homeless crisis, and it is simply not acceptable. Are we going to allow it to continue?

The recently published figures released by the Department of Housing show that there were 10,049 people in emergency accommodation in April 2022, including 1,308 families and 2,944 children.

The figure was up 224 on March’s total and it is the fourth consecutive month homelessness has significantly risen in Ireland.

It should also be noted that the number from Government does not include women in refuge centres or those they apathetically refer to “rough sleepers”, therefore the true number is likely to be significantly higher.

As we know, Government has done little or nothing to solve this humanitarian crisis. They have allowed multi-billionaire foreign corporations and vulture funds to buy up Irish housing estates and other property vitally needed for the people of Ireland on whose behalf and in whose interests the elected government is lawfully bound to act.

They secured no funding nor initiative to provide a meaningful solution and have watched homelessness rise in Ireland for years with only empty words feigning concern.

Now they add insult to injury by repeatedly pulling out all the stops to secure accommodation for an uncapped and excessive number of Ukrainian refugees in a country already in serious crisis.

Empathy and compassion for genuine asylum seekers are within any good, caring person. People affected by corruption and destruction in ALL countries are in our hearts and our prayers.

That does not mean that we should not insist that our elected government resolve the housing crisis for the Irish homeless NOW. Our people’s suffering and hardship must come first!

Let’s not forget that the Government of Ireland, representing the People of a NEUTRAL, Sovereign Republic, has accepted a far higher number of Ukrainians per capita than the UK or any of our other European neighbours with much larger populations.

As reported in the Times UK on 8th May, “Ireland has a population one thirteenth the size of Britain’s but it has taken in almost as many Ukrainian refugees as the 30,000 accepted by its bigger neighbour and is now preparing to admit even more.”

The question is WHY? Has our government finally gone insane? Aside from the fact that it discards the interests of the People of Ireland, what message does it send from a neutral country that it exceeds the aid provided by NATO allies?

Certainly not that it is a warm and empathetic country, when it casts aside its own people and the people of Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and all of the other countries which have been and still are in serious humanitarian crisis.

The latest blow to our homeless is that plans have been submitted to Meath County Council for the construction of 569 detached temporary homes in East Meath to house Ukrainian refugees.

“Temporary” planning permission is sought for 5 years for the development of emergency temporary accommodation on 15.8 hectares. (39 acres).

The proposed development is to consist of 569 detached, two-bedroom single-story homes, as well as a playground and car parking spaces “to accommodate over 2,000 refugees from the conflict in Ukraine”, as reported in the Irish Independent last Wednesday.

Independent Senator Sharon Keogan has said that she is “100% against the development of any more Direct Provision style housing/camps in this country”, and has stated that she intends to hold a public meeting about the matter in the next few weeks.

She said, “This development in Laytown is high density, where approximately 2,300 Ukrainians will be housed. Is it right that the 700 Refugees in Mosney will be treated differently with their housing need, while these units get thrown up for Ukrainians,” she stated. ”The government is prepared to put all resources into housing refugees and yet discriminates in finding resources or solutions for our homeless, those on the social housing waiting list or even those seeking affordable housing”.

She agreed solutions long term need to be found to house those fleeing Ukraine, but said that “We cannot step on or over our own to house another”.

Senator Keogan also stressed, “It’s temporary planning for five years, but I’ve seen temporary legislation before and nothing is ever temporary…”

The land is currently zoned for employment use, but the developers,Melvin Properties Ltd and Ketut Limited, are to seek an exemption “given the current accommodation crisis as a result of the the war in Ukraine.”, it was reported.

One again it seems that the Irish People are thrown aside, both with regard to employment and housing, in order to house thousands of those fleeing a conflict, which could very well end in a matter or months, if not weeks, in 2 bedroom homes in a residential village for a period of FIVE Years.

The resulting impact on education and health services, among others, would also be significant, in circumstances in which these services are also already in crisis.

This latest cold blow to our homeless follows the announcement of other similar plans, such as the purchase of the old Bank Of Ireland building in Lismore, Co. Waterford by Waterford County Council for €290,000 in order to create 10 to 12 family units for Ukrainian refugees.

This followed the government announcement, as reported in the Irish Times on 25th April, that it would “bring back into use” vacant social homes “for Ukrainian refugees”.

What is also of concern is that on 8th April last, the Irish Times, in an article entitled, ‘Properties linked to Fair Deal scheme could be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees’, it was reported that Ministers had been briefed on plans “to try to make around 8000 vacant properties linked to the Fair Deal Nursing Home Scheme available to those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Perhaps those with relatives of people in nursing homes, who have signed up to this scheme, should be asking questions about what vacant property precisely the government is referring to, for the potential abuse of the protected rights of vulnerable people could be at stake.

We must act now and write to all government members.

Demand that they solve our housing and homeless crisis NOW.

Demand that they show respect for all Irish citizens and put their needs and fundamental rights first.

Demand that they give the public a full explanation as to their acceptance of excessive numbers of refugees which cannot be sustained without serious cost to Irish people.

This cannot be allowed to continue.

#homelessness#Irishhomeless#housingcrisis#housingcrisisireland

#ourhomelessfirst

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