Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has accused the Government of hiding behind figures instead of tackling the growing child homelessness crisis.
Speaking at Leaders’ Questions today, Deputy Doherty said;
“Last week in this Chamber as your Government and Fianna Fáil announced the Budget for 2020 I said that ‘the housing crisis had become wrapped up in statistics and figures, instead of focusing on the people behind the statistics’.
“Earlier this week a group of volunteers who offer food and clothes to the Dublin homeless posted a photo online.
“The photo showed a 5 year-old boy eating dinner from a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city. Sam is 5 years old. He goes to school like any other child, but Sam is homeless.
“The volunteer group who met Sam made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home cooked meals for her children.
“Like so many parents of homeless children in this State, their emergency accommodation strictly forbids families from cooking meals for their children.
“This is Sam’s life. Without a home, he is left without the comfort and security that should be the right of every child.
“That is the life that Fine Gael have condemned nearly 4,000 children like Sam to.
“Behind the statistics the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, this is the stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.
“The moral stain of child homelessness is creating a lost generation of children who are having their childhood stolen.
“This is the Republic you are building.This is not a Republic of Opportunity that cherishes all the children equally.
“These are the parents and children you are failing. It is a national shame.
“Our alternative budget would have invested an additional €1bn in public housing, affordable rental and affordable purchase homes and introduced a rent freeze and refundable tax credit for renters.
“These are the solutions that are needed to deal with the housing and homelessness crisis. Instead, you and your partners in Fianna Fáil chose to ignore these people in a budget without ambition, ideas or much needed investment that would have given workers and families a real break.”