It now looks very likely that homeless families will be displaced by Papal visit
A record number of people in Ireland were homeless in June.
Fears that homeless families in the greater Dublin area will be moved out of emergency accommodation in favour of the thousands of tourists who plan to travel for the Pope's visit have increased as a Dublin-based homeless charity has confirmed that extra measures will be put in place for such an event.
According to figures compiled by the Dublin Airport Authority and the Gardaí, an estimated 600,000 people are set to take to the capital to watch the Pontiff say mass in Phoenix Park.
In response to this, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has revealed that a large number of additional emergency accommodation has been sourced to cater for families in need during the Papal visit.
"We have been aware for some time, that securing emergency accommodation during the Papal visit could be challenging and that additional resources and planning would be required," the statement reads.
"Therefore the DRHE, in conjunction with the four Dublin Local Authorities, has coordinated and implemented contingency plans which will operate for the duration of the Papal Visit."
They've mentioned that they've been working closely with private accommodation providers to ensure existing hotel and B&B bookings will not be adversely affected.
It has also increased staffing of its freephone number, 1800 707 707, on Saturday and Sunday and its outreach teams will be on the streets engaging with those at risk of sleeping rough.
"The DRHE is aware of the difficult circumstances that families experiencing homelessness have to face and we will continue to monitor the demand for emergency accommodation during this time.
"We will endeavour in the first instance, to accommodate any families that newly present during the Papal visit within the Dublin Region.
"However as part of our additional contingency measures, a certain number of spaces are located outside of the Dublin Region, these will be utilised only when absolutely necessary."
The full statement can be read here.
JOE spoke to an Inner City Helping Homelessness (ICHH) spokesperson, who doubted claims that homeless families won't be affected by Pope Francis' visit.
"When the Pope comes over to visit - we're really expecting serious troubles. We'll be making calls to organisations as something needs to be done quickly," the spokesperson said.
"But we have serious doubt that homeless families won't be removed as hotels can charge more in comparison."