"Absolutely appalling" - Brother Kevin Crowley hits out at government on homeless crisis
"Please, please do something for the unfortunate children. I don't want to see anybody lying or dying on the streets coming up to Christmas."
Brother Kevin Crowley, founder of the Capuchin Day Centre, has criticised the government's failure to provide accommodation as the homeless crisis continues to spiral out of control.
Recalling when the centre opened in 1969, Crowley noted that he initially provided services to about 50 people, a number that pales in comparison to record-high homeless figures in 2019.
"Now each morning we open our doors between half six and seven and we'll have anything from 300 to 350 for breakfast, and we'll have anything from 500 to 600 for dinner, and that's six days a week," he said when speaking on RTÉ's Sunday with Miriam programme.
"I never thought that it would get to this extent where we have so much people coming in, so much children," Crowley added.
"One of the things that really saddens me [is] to see the number of children coming in here every day and then leaving the centre and going to a hotel for accommodation. In this day and age, it's absolutely appalling and I appeal to the government to build more homes.
"It is a huge problem and that is why we have so many homeless people; because the government are not building houses. They are not building homes."
Asked if he ever despairs about the current situation, Crowley was blunt:
"I despair when I think about the way that the government is behaving. That is what saddens me. What I'm saying now coming up to Christmas is, please, please do something for the unfortunate children.
"I don't want to see anybody lying or dying on the streets coming up to Christmas."
Crowley's comments arrive just days after Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy published the latest figures on homelessness in Ireland.
The report shows that there were a total of 10,514 individuals in emergency accommodation in October.
This figure includes 6,688 adults, 1,733 families and 3,826 dependants or children; an increase of 117 people using emergency accommodation compared to the month before.
Minister Murphy survived a vote of no confidence on Tuesday evening.
On Saturday night, Dublin City Council officially requested that people refrain from hanging clothes for homeless people on the Ha'penny Bride, citing "health and safety" reasons.