8th December 2014, Wednesday
By Bryan T. Smyth
Sinn Féin Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has claimed that Cork County Council is simply not doing enough to tackle the issue of homelessness.
Speaking after a report was presented to Councillors at today’s meeting of Cork County Council, following on from a motion tabled by Cllr Ó Laoghaire, he stated that the levels of funding invested by Cork County Council was totally inadequate.
“Recent days, we have read of a number of significant tragedies on our streets, both Nationally, and locally. Last week, grotesquely, we saw a homeless man found dead almost directly outside the Dáil. Since then, we have heard of further tragedies here in Cork.”
“The homelessness crisis is fast getting out of control, and not only in Dublin”
“According to Cork Simon’s annual report, they helped 1,187 people this year, a 13% increase on last year. In the whole of 2013, there was 174 instances of people sleeping rough, but this had increased to 230 even by September, with an average of 17 people a night, and is now far in excess of that.
“Last year Cork County Council will by years end have spent €299,166. While the information in the report is welcome, my concerns have not been alleviated. Sinn Féin proposed at the budget a substantial increase, of €100,000 additional, in funding for the Homeless service, an area where Cork County Council spends proportionately far less than most other Local Authorities.”
“According to Public Policy.ie, Cork County spends 91c per head of population on Homeless Services, compared to €45.15 in Cork City, or even in more rural counties, €2.70 in Tipperary, €6.91 in Kerry, €5.28 in Kilkenny, or €1.73 in Donegal, €6.39 in Longford. This is simply not good enough.
“While an allowance has to be made for the size of Cork in calculating that, it is still the case that Cork County Council could do much more, particularly when the services in the City Centre are being stretched to their limit, and beyond. The County must do it’s bit, and particularly when so many areas of the City are now in the County Council area.”
“While much of the incidence of persons sleeping rough in Cork may take place within the City Bounds, you can be certain that many many people there have come from County Council areas. The Councils report indicates that there are no people sleeping rough in County Areas, which I would be very surprised at.”
“However, in any case, we should also not make the mistake of equating homelessness with sleeping rough. There are people all over the County who are sleeping in cars, living out of hostels and guest houses, or hopping from couch to couch where they can.”
“Minister Kelly has recently announced that there will be €10.5 National Funding additional allocated for homelessness. I welcome that, but I have a concern that due to media attention the vast majority of this funding end up in Dublin, and that Cork will not get a fair proportion. I will be calling on the County to work with the City to ensure that this region does get a fair allocation, and that this can be put to good use locally, in the City and County.”