News & Media

O'Sullivan concern over rising level of child homelessness

18 October 2019

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

Labour Housing spokesperson and Limerick TD Jan O’Sullivan has expressed serious concern at the rising number of children who are becoming homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

It comes after the housing charity Novas said that for the first time, it has helped more than 1,000 children in the past year, in Limerick.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“I think for anyone that saw the shocking picture of a little boy eating his dinner from a cardboard box on the street this week, the appalling reality of child homelessness was really laid bare.

“Nationally, there are now nearly 4,000 children in Ireland in emergency accommodation, with children making up 40 per cent of the overall homeless population.

“In my own constituency of Limerick, Novas has helped more than 1,000 children who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the past year, for the first time.

“As the chair of Novas has said, children now make up the biggest group of homeless people in the country.

“This is a situation that no one wants to see and must be treated with the urgency it requires.

“The State must take the lead and start building social and affordable homes on the scale that is needed.

“In our Alternative Budget for 2020, the Labour Party proposed a comprehensive and costed €16 billion plan to provide at least 80,000 units of social and affordable housing over five years to transform the Irish housing system and end the boom to bust cycle.

“Where there is the political will, it can be done.

“In the meantime, we need to ensure that children are at the heart of any official decision made regarding a family that becomes homeless.

“Labour’s Homeless Families Bill, which aims to do just that, finally got the green light this week to proceed to Committee Stage in the Dáil, and I hope it will be swiftly progressed.

“A society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable, and we have to do better by the children of this State.”