Republic of Ireland news

Rally to remember death of homeless Jonathan Corrie

The death of Jonathan Corrie in a doorway close to Leinster House a year ago sparked a public outcry

A RALLY will be held in Dublin tonight to mark the first anniversary of the death of Jonathan Corrie.

Large crowds are expected to take part and call for urgent action from the Dublin government to tackle homelessness.

The 43-year-old’s body was discovered lying in a doorway close to Leinster House on December 1 2014, sparking a public outcry at the authorities’ failure to find solutions to the city’s homelessness crisis.

Born in Dublin, Mr Corrie grew up in Kilkenny after being adopted, but he had been troubled from his early teens and ended up sleeping rough after becoming addicted to alcohol and heroin.

The National Homeless and Housing Coalition is holding a rally to mark today’s anniversary, starting outside the GPO at 5pm, before marching to Leinster House.

Belfast-born Fr Peter McVerry, who has campaigned for Dublin’s troubled youths and homeless for decades, said the crisis has grown “much, much worse” since Mr Corrie’s death.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said: “The empty local authority buildings that exist, and there's a huge number of them around the country, ought to be brought back into operation as rapidly as possible. And I can't understand why they are not being renovated and used again as quickly as possible.”

He told the programme that most of the emergency accommodation that is available is of an appalling quality where people feel intimidated and are often attacked and that the least that should be done is to provide everyone with a room of their own.

The government allocated more than €100 million to help ease the crisis last year while regulations were introduced to target rising rents.

However, Mike Allen, from Focus Ireland, said: “Definitely, the government has tried to rise to the challenge, unfortunately the problem has grown faster than they are responding to it.”

Figures released today by Dublin City Council reveal that between July and September over 2,100 adults accessed emergency accommodation each night across the Dublin region, an increase of 233 compared to April to June 2015 . Almost 1,300 children were accommodated on a nightly basis.

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