Speaking ahead of tonight’s RTÉ Investigates programme on the lived experience of rough sleepers in Ireland, Social Democrats spokesperson for Housing, Cian O’Callaghan TD, commented:

“Research carried out by RTÉ Investigates for the ‘Stuck in the Rough’ documentary found that 27% of the people sleeping rough said that they were turned away from an emergency hostel bed at different times since the pandemic began last year. This corresponds with what organisations working with homeless people on the ground have been saying.

“There must be no more excuses from Government – it is utterly unacceptable that people are sleeping rough in freezing conditions while emergency beds lie empty. This would be unacceptable at any time but is exceptionally cruel during a public health emergency and pandemic.

“I’ve raised this maltreatment of homeless people in the Dáil with both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing on several occasions. Their response has been weak, ineffective and insufficient. The Minister for Housing must write to all local authorities instructing them not to use local connection criteria to refuse people who are sleeping rough access to emergency beds.”

January 18, 2021

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