Republic of Ireland news

Mother and six children sleep in Dublin garda station due to lack of emergency accommodation

 A mother and six children slept in Tallaght Garda Station when emergency accommodation could not be found
Aoife Moore, Press Association

A young mother and her six children, including a baby, were forced to sleep in a Dublin Garda station last night due to lack of emergency accommodation.

The children aged from one to 11 years old were forced to sleep on plastic seating in Tallaght station as all emergency lines for homeless shelters and local hotels reported they were full.

The mother told RTÉ today: "You can't understand what it's like until it happens to you."

A Garda spokesman confirmed that the young family presented as homeless with nowhere to go.

He said: "I can confirm a young mother and her six children, aged from 11 years to one year, presented at Tallaght Garda Station during the night as they had nowhere to go.

"Members of An Garda Siochana tried all the emergency lines in relation to homeless shelters and no accommodation was located. A number of local hotels were also phoned.

"The family were cared for during the night by the members working and received a hot breakfast this morning in Tallaght.

"The family have now left the Garda station and are on the way to South Dublin Co-Council, Housing Department."

It is understood that a total of seven homeless families were referred to Garda stations on Wednesday night due to a lack of emergency accommodation.

@AnthonyICHH

Homeless service providers are obliged to refer families with children to Garda stations for child protection reasons in cases where emergency accommodation cannot be sourced.

Dublin Region Homeless Executive spokesman said: "On the night of the 8th August 2018 an unprecedented number of families presented out of hours seeking emergency accommodation.

"We were notified by the Family Homeless Action Team that they were actively engaged with 10 families, who were unable to source their own accommodation.

"Our Central Placement Team were able to source emergency accommodation for five of the families, one family refused the offer of accommodation, two of the families were linked back in with their region (outside of Dublin) and two did not seek further assistance."

Political reaction

Sinn Féin Deputy Eoin O Broin slammed the government's inaction over the issue.

He said: "For the first time in a number of months homeless services providers were forced to refer seven families to Garda stations last night due to lack of available emergency accommodation.

"Of the seven families accommodation was eventually found for four, with one family sleeping in Tallaght Garda Station and two more families sleeping rough.

"As the holiday season reaches its peak and with the added pressure of the Pope's visit to Ireland many hotels are withdrawing their rooms from emergency accommodation.

"It is become increasingly clear that government has no actual strategy for tackling family homelessness.

"No adult or child should be forced to sleep in a Garda station or a van for lack of emergency accommodation.

"If government focused more on preventing these families from becoming homeless and increasing the supply of social housing to get families out of homelessness then last night's ugly scenes would not be repeated."

Labour Party housing spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan TD called on the government to do more to tackle the crisis.

Ms O'Sullivan said: "It is deeply disturbing to hear reports about homeless children having to sleep in Garda stations.

"This is not the first time we have heard stories like this and unless something is done to put children at the heart of our state's response to homelessness, it won't be the last."

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