Government to blame for ongoing homeless crisis – campaigner

Government to blame for ongoing homeless crisis – campaigner
Staff Reporter

Taoiseach Leo Vardakar is right that Ireland’s homelessness crisis will not be solved in the Government’s lifetime, and the Government is to blame, a leading campaigner has said.

Mr Varadkar’s comments on TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Brown revealed a profound ignorance of the nature of the crisis, Fr Peter McVerry told The Irish Catholic, explaining: “Given the plan that they have and any possible tweaking of the plan that they have, they’re not going to solve it.”

While welcoming proposals to tax empty properties, Fr McVerry said: “We need much more radical action like compulsory purchase orders, like legislation to prevent banks or landlords evicting people into homelessness. We need much more radical action if we’re going to tackle this problem and you’re not going to get that from a Conservative government.”

Criticising how Ireland has had a succession of housing ministers and homeless housing strategies while the country has seen dramatic rises in homelessness, Fr McVerry noted how the most recent Government plan conspicuously lacked a target date for ending homelessness and has “two fundamental flaws”.

It lacks provisions to limit the ability of banks and landlords to evict tenants, and is excessively reliant on people leaving homelessness for privately-owned accommodation, he said, adding: “The private rented sector is now part of the problem and it cannot be part of the solution.”