Dublin's Unused Property Could House Homeless

Dublin's Mayor has appealed to the Government to permit the use of the capital's currently unused housing stock to give a roof to the homeless.

Mayor Ciaran Byrne of the Labour Party said there was approximately 1,000 empty housing units, as well as unfinished developments in Fingal, which encompasses much of north and west Dublin.

The houses are currently dormant due to the slump in the housing market despite a huge excess being built during the Celtic Tiger years.

Mayor Byrne said the buildings were not being used at a time when the Government had "massaged" homelessness figures in the local authority area.

"We are fairly sure that there are more than 1,000 empty units in the county," Mayor Byrne said, adding there was a further number of "half-completed units".

Meanwhile, homeless interest group, the Simon Community have said today that time is running out for the Government to meet its commitment to end rough sleeping and long-term homelessness in Ireland by 2010.

The warning came at a political briefing held today as part of Simon Week 2009. Members of the Oireachtas met with representatives from the Simon Communities of Ireland and the eight local Simon Communities form all around Ireland throughout the day to hear about those experiencing homelessness and at risk of homelessness in their constituency areas.

The Simon Community representatives also conveyed the potentially devastating impact of further cuts to funding for homeless services across the country.

Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of the Simon Communities of Ireland, Patrick Burke said: "In 2008, as part of the National Homeless Strategy, this Government restated its commitment to end long-term homelessness and rough sleeping in Ireland by 2010.

We are now less than 15 months away from the time when these commitments should be realised, and it appears they may be in jeopardy."


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