Dail sleep-out demands beds for homeless
A public sleep-out protest outside the Dail last night sought a complete revamp of services for people who live on the streets.
The event was organised by the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) group which has more than 300 volunteers working late at night handing out food, hot drinks and warm clothing to people sleeping rough.
"Just two months after a summit meeting on the homeless, things are now as bad as ever," said ICHH director Anthony Flynn.
The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, which serves the homeless on behalf of the four local authorities, needs to completely revamp its services because people sleeping rough are once again being told there are no beds for them, claimed Mr Flynn.
He called for clarity on the location of all beds available to the homeless.
A candlelight vigil at 10pm in memory of those who died on the streets was followed by an all-night sleep-out of protesters in sleeping bags despite the severe wind chill.
Mr Flynn said people from outside Dublin sought beds after more were made available, but bed numbers were decreasing again.
"The sleep-out is a mark of solidarity with the homeless. We've seen the conditions people are sleeping in," he said.
"We have, alongside our counterparts, expressed the need for better access to services, housing and long-term beds.
"The alarms sounded through December and part of January. We find ourselves no better off that we were last year.
"There is a new wave of homeless on our streets and they are getting younger.
"Consistently throwing money into the black hole with no visible results is no longer acceptable."
Mr Flynn said the Taoiseach had shown empathy with the rough sleepers, but it is now time for action.