Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Dublin Denise Mitchell has strongly criticised the Government for utterly failing to address the scale of child homelessness in Ireland.
Teachta Mitchell said that “we are actively harming children by denying them a home of their own.”
The Dublin Bay North TD said:
“There are almost four thousand children homeless in this State. Four thousand. In 2019, that is the Ireland that this government has created in its image. Where the better off prosper and those without suffer.
“This of course does not account for homeless families who are self-accommodating or doubling up with family and friends. Thousands of children are sleeping two to a bed or sleeping in box rooms as their parents crash on the floor.
“No one can say what effect this will have on our young people as they get older. We are stealing these developmental years from thousands of children. We are stunting their growth in ways that may not become apparent for years to come.
“Homeless children are fair more likely to have poor school attendance, poor diet, inadequate rest, and poor living conditions.
“Numerous studies have shown the detrimental impact that homelessness has on children in terms of physical, mental, and emotional health.
“We are actively harming children by denying them a home of their own. This much cannot be argued.
“The Minister will stand in here and say that the Government understands.
“He will mournfully say that they are doing all they can and that no child should experience such terrible circumstances.
“That is all well and good, but what are they doing about it? Not a damn thing.
“The homelessness numbers have only been going one way since Fine Gael took office and that is up. Month on month, year and year, more and more people are entering emergency accommodation.
“My party put down a motion of no confidence in Minister Eoghan Murphy in September of last year. He survived thanks to the inaction of Fianna Fáil.
“Fianna Fáil are directly supporting this government and shameful record on addressing the housing crisis that is plaguing this State.
“Perhaps they will reflect on that.”