Ireland's largest charity calls for 'Government to act now and declare a national emergency on homelessness' 3 years ago

Ireland's largest charity calls for 'Government to act now and declare a national emergency on homelessness'

It is in direct response to the news that a mother and her children were advised to sleep in a Garda station.

St. Vincent de Paul, the largest, voluntary, charitable organisation in Ireland, has called for the Government to declare a state of emergency regarding homelessness in Ireland.

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Earlier this week, a photo of children sleeping on the chairs of a Tallaght Garda Station waiting room went viral.

The image showed five children in school uniforms, aged from one to 11, who were photographed by their mother lying across rows of metal chairs without blankets after being advised by Gardaí to seek shelter there.

Kieran Stafford, SVP National President, said "It is utterly unacceptable that any child should have to spend a night sleeping in a car or a Garda Station. Childhood is short, and at this time of year, children should be enjoying their summer holidays with friends and family. No child should have to worry about where they are going to sleep at night.

"We first heard reports of children sleeping in Garda Stations in May 2017 and nothing has changed 14 months later. It is clear that the current policy has failed. The Government must ramp up the delivery of social housing, and end the long-term use of emergency accommodation for children and families."

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"We need a compassionate and empathetic response to the crisis. Unhelpful narratives that seek to blame people for their circumstances can’t be used to distract from the root cause of the crisis – an overreliance on the private sector to meet housing need. Children’s well-being can no longer be collateral damage to a dysfunctional housing system."