Monday 11 December 2017

Evicted couple with three young children found sleeping in park

Councillor Christy Burke and Brother Kevin Crowley
Councillor Christy Burke and Brother Kevin Crowley

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke has said the homeless crisis in the city has "reached a tsunami" stage after a family with three young children were left to sleep in a park.

The Romanian family had been evicted from their rented accommodation and spent two nights sleeping in the Phoenix Park before reporting themselves as homeless on Monday.

The couple, in their 30s, and their children - aged two, three and five - were given shelter by the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICCH) volunteer group, whose volunteers discovered them sleeping on a bench in Mountjoy Square that night, shortly after 11pm.

The family have now been given temporary accommodation by Dublin City Council's Central Placement Service (CPS).

In response to news of the family's plight, an emergency press conference was called by Mr Burke, Anthony Flynn of ICCH and Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Centre for homeless people.

"We've been dealing with this for two years. We've been talking about this for the past two to three years," said Mr Burke.

"I've been talking about it for the past 20 years, but nobody was listening. Now we've reached what has become a tsunami in relation to the homeless situation and it's simply not getting better. It's time for action."


Brother Crowley said he was "disgusted" that emergency accommodation could not be arranged for the family.

"This family slept in the Phoenix Park - it's appalling that in this day and age people are sleeping in the park," he said.

"These kids are exhausted, and why shouldn't they be after being out until all hours of the night? Had they contacted me in the evening, I would have made sure that these children were not left out on the streets."

The renewed calls on the Government to address the crisis come after months of reports of an increase in families being homeless - 531 families were in emergency accommodation at the end of June.

On Sunday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said hotels and B&Bs were "not suitable" for families.

The crisis came to the fore last December after the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie on the street just metres from the Dail.

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