Lord Mayor confirms that Papal visit will cause homeless families to be moved out of emergency accommodation 2 months ago

Lord Mayor confirms that Papal visit will cause homeless families to be moved out of emergency accommodation

The Pope's visit is scheduled for 25 and 26 August.

Pope Francis' forthcoming visit to Ireland has raised fears surrounding security for those currently living in emergency accommodation in the capital.

The Pontiff's visit is expected to bring a minimum of 500,000 tourists to the capital, with the Dublin Airport Authority recording the highest number of tourists ever coming through the airport.

The issue of homeless families being removed from emergency shelter in place of profitable visitors was originally raised by Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis back in June, as he told the Dáil that "With the expected crowds and the peak season for tourists, accommodation will be impossible to get."

Minister of State at the Department of Housing Damien English went on to refute this accusation, claiming that homeless families currently in emergency accommodation would not be affected by the visit.

He also added that contingency plans were being put in place for families presenting as homeless during that period.

However, Friday saw the Lord Mayor confirm the worst, mentioning that the possibility of displacement is high.

"I think some people will [be moved]," said Mr Ring.

"Remember there are 1,300 families in emergency accommodation. Some hotels will have to move people out temporarily.

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"I believe it is a very small number. But, again hopefully it is at a very small number, it's at a minimum. And that the people will be accommodated in suitable accommodation for that particular night."

This possibility has been a growing source of anxiety for homeless advocates as the influx of tourists and visitors could pack out many hotels that are usually used for emergency accommodation.

JOE spoke to Anthony Flynn, CEO and Co-Founder of ICHH who, just this week, called a meeting with Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy following the publication of a photograph of five children seeking shelter in a Dublin Garda station.

"We should have accommodation sourced in the afternoon for those individuals to enter. Families shouldn't have to walk into town and wait in McDonald's on O'Connell Street for a call back from a statuary body to see if they have a bed for the night.

"The red flag is raised now and he's aware of it - we're just waiting for a call back."

The Pope is scheduled to visit Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August 2018. This will be the first visit from a pope since Pope John Paul II's spoke in Phoenix Park back in 1979. One million people were in attendance at the time.

Some seven months ago when the Pope's visit was first announced, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar mentioned that "The Government will assist in any way to facilitate Pope Francis's visit."

He also went on to say that the Government is "very much at [the] disposal" of the Catholic Church.

According to Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Pontiff's visit is set to cost around €20 million.