Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the publication of information by RTÉ which shows that inspections by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive found that 34% of private homeless shelters had fire safety issues.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The information published by RTÉ on the inspection regime for emergency homeless accommodation is shocking, but unfortunately not surprising.
“The fact that thirteen private emergency accommodation settings out of sixty-nine had fire safety issues is hugely concerning and shows how weak the current inspection regime is.
“The fact that no inspections have taken place in the past year is unacceptable, especially since inspections continued for accommodation that houses other vulnerable members of the community.
“The government have not acted swiftly enough to put in place an independent inspection regime for all emergency accommodation providers – public and private – despite this issue being raised with them since 2017.
“In July 2017, I wrote to the Ministers responsible for both emergency accommodation and direct provision to ask when an independent inspection process would be introduced.
“In June 2018, I published legislation which would have given HIQA the powers to investigate both emergency accommodation and direct provision providers.
“Four years on, there we have seen no action taken by government.
“The inspection of premises that house some of the most vulnerable people in society must be a priority. Handing over responsibility to a private contractor is not the solution.
“HIQA has the experience and the tools in place to conduct these types of inspections and it should be tasked with this function and given the resources to do so.
“My 2018 Bill is currently with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers in order to strengthen it and I hope to introduce revised legislation in the Dáil soon.”