A Sinn Fein TD has strongly criticised the Irish government after a young mother and her six children, including a baby, were forced to sleep in a Dublin Garda station due to lack of emergency accommodation.
The children aged from one to 11 years old were forced to sleep on plastic seating in Tallaght station on the night of Wednesday 8th August as all emergency lines for homeless shelters and local hotels reported they were full.
It is understood that a total of seven homeless families were referred to Garda stations that night due to a lack of emergency accommodation.
Homeless service providers are obliged to refer families with children to Garda stations for child protection reasons in cases where emergency accommodation cannot be sourced.
Eoin O Broin, Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on housing, slammed the government’s inaction over the issue and pointed out that hotel rooms that were usually used for emergency accommodation had been withdrawn due to a peak in demand thanks to Pope Francis’ forthcoming visit to the city.
“For the first time in a number of months homeless services providers were forced to refer seven families to Garda stations last night due to lack of available emergency accommodation,” he said.
“Of the seven families accommodation was eventually found for four, with one family sleeping in Tallaght Garda Station and two more families sleeping rough.
“As the holiday season reaches its peak and with the added pressure of the pope’s visit to Ireland many hotels are withdrawing their rooms from emergency accommodation,” he continued.
“It is become increasingly clear that Government has no actual strategy for tackling family homelessness.”
Mr O Broin insisted that no adult or child should be forced to sleep in a Garda station or a van for lack of emergency accommodation.
“If Government focused more on preventing these families from becoming homeless and increasing the supply of social housing to get families out of homelessness then last night’s ugly scenes would not be repeated.”
A Garda spokesman confirmed that the young family had been at the station.
“I can confirm a young mother and her six children, aged from 11 years to one year, presented at Tallaght Garda Station during the night as they had nowhere to go,” he said.
“Members of An Garda Siochana tried all the emergency lines in relation to homeless shelters and no accommodation was located. A number of local hotels were also phoned.
“The family were cared for during the night by the members working and received a hot breakfast this morning in Tallaght.
“The family have now left the Garda station and are on the way to South Dublin Co-Council, Housing Department.”
Picture: The children sleeping in a Dublin Garda station on Wednesday night after they and their young mother were forced to sleep there due to lack of emergency accommodation.