In the Dáil this evening Social Democrats T.D. for Dublin Bay North, Deputy Cian O’Callaghan highlighted the impact overcrowding is having on the spread of COVID-19 and called on the Minister to roll out systematic testing for high-risk groups who live in overcrowded conditions.

In advance of the debate, Cian O’Callaghan said:

“It is clear that people living in overcrowded conditions are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This applies not just to nursing homes but to direct provision centres, family hubs, emergency accommodation and other settings. Dr Lucy Michael, of Fingal Communities Against Racism, has said that residents in one direct provision centre had reported nearly 100 people testing positive for the virus. There is also substantial evidence from Dr Jack Lambert of clusters of infection in overcrowded accommodation including in areas of the North Inner City. This is a real cause for concern.”

“In the private rented sector, there are substantial risks where healthcare staff, factory and frontline workers live together in overcrowded homes. While healthcare workers are being tested, and in some cases put into quarantine in City West if they test positive – those they live with are not being tested and continue to live in overcrowded conditions and work in front line services. This makes no sense. There is a very real risk that the virus will spread quickly in these conditions. There needs to be a systematic roll-out of testing for high-risk groups – this must include those living in overcrowded accommodation.”

“I want to commend all those working on the frontline in homeless services who are working hard to try to ensure that people who are homeless in Dublin are being protected from the virus. A huge amount of work has gone into this effort. As the restrictions are lifted over the coming weeks, people who are homeless must feature in the Government’s plans. I’m particularly worried about rough sleepers, who are at a higher risk of infection as they come into contact with so many people. This needs a focused response from the Government.”


7th May 2020

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