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Republic of Ireland news

Almost 3,000 children among Republic's 8,000-plus homeless

More than 8,000 people in the Republic are homeless
Ed Carty, Press Association

MORE than 8,000 people in the Republic are homeless, including almost 3,000 children, official figures have revealed amid concerns over the death of a rough sleeper in Dublin.

The figures, which exclude rough sleepers, show 8,160 people are homeless.

A further 200 people on average are thought to be on the streets of Dublin every night.

The Irish government's report on homeless people in emergency accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs, hostels and family hubs, in July revealed 1,429 families were affected by the crisis.

There were 905 single parents and 2,973 children.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government's Homelessness Report said the crisis was worst in Dublin where 3,528 adults were without a home.

Homeless man Stephen Watson (51), who was deported to Ireland from Australia in 2015 following several convictions, died in Dublin city centre on August 31.

The records also showed that in the capital there were 1,178 homeless families comprising 2,423 children.

In Limerick the number of homeless adults was 297; in Cork it was 248; Galway 180; and Kildare 135.

Earlier this week the Peter McVerry Trust called for homelessness to be made a priority issue in Budget 2018 - due to be announced on October 10, which is World Homeless Day.

The charity warned that if the unprecedented housing crisis continues at the current rate 8,300 people will be homeless by that date.

There have also been calls for the Government to build 90,000 social housing units to alleviate the crisis - double the target for the next five years.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said repairing the sector is his top priority.

"As I have previously said, we must continue to work hard and redouble our efforts. There is no shortage of will or determination to deal with this issue. Resources are not an obstacle to the urgent efforts required," he said.

Mr Murphy will meet the country's local authority chiefs at a special summit in the Custom House today to discuss additional responses to the crisis.

The minister said about 1,800 homeless people or families have this year moved out of emergency accommodation into a tenancy.

The Government is also planning to have more than 15 family hubs in the Dublin region this year, while Dublin City Council is reportedly aiming to open another 200 beds for homeless people this winter.

Focus Ireland, one of the leading homelessness charities, said the record figures should be a line in the sand in the fight to end the crisis.

It said homeless numbers have gone up 25% in the year to July.

The charity's advocacy director, Mike Allen, said: "The time has now come for the Government to take the decisions it has shied away from for several years. This includes actively building social housing, taxing those who hoard building land and protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction."

Focus Ireland said there is a failure to understand the need to cut the numbers being made homeless.

Mr Allen added: "This is a question of ideology. It's putting property rights ahead of the rights of tenants."

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