News & Media

Labour's Homeless Families Bill to proceed to Committee Stage

14 October 2019

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

The Labour Party’s proposed legislation to legally oblige housing authorities to recognise homeless families as family units, with specific regard to the best interests of children, will now proceed to committee stage in the Dáil.

It’s after the green light was given to the Housing (Homeless Families) Bill by the Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Welcoming the news, Labour Housing spokesperson Deputy Jan O’Sullivan said:

“Our Homeless Families Bill first came about over two years ago, after 12 homeless families and 30 children were sent to sleep in Dublin garda stations for the night as there was no emergency accommodation available.

“We believe that no child should ever be put in such a distressing and potentially unsafe situation, and that the best interests of the child should always be at the heart of any official response when a family becomes homeless.

“Our Bill does just that and in this context, moves to give legal backing to the rights of the child, as enshrined in the Constitution in 2015.

“Having passed second stage in the Dáil as far back as July 2017 and after undergoing detailed scrutiny, we are delighted to learn that the Committee on Housing has now given the green light for the Homeless Families Bill to proceed to committee stage.

“We believe that if enacted, our Bill would bring about a change in approach to how local authorities deal with a family in a crisis accommodation situation. If this had been the law in May 2017, it is highly unlikely these families would have ended up in Garda stations overnight.

“I now look forward to working further with the Committee on Housing to progress this Bill, and hope to have support of the House in the next stage.”

ENDS

Copy of the proposed Bill and Explanatory memo available here:

https://www.labour.ie/download/pdf/housing_homeless_families_bill_2017.pdf