News & Media

We need to protect our most vulnerable children- O'Sullivan

12 December 2019

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

Responding to today's report on homeless families by the Mercy Law Resource Centre, Labour spokesperson on Housing Deputy Jan O’Sullivan said:

“It is shocking to read that a woman who had given birth just one month earlier was placed in one night only accommodation with her new baby and 16-month-old child for several weeks, leaving them to walk the streets in the cold during the day.

“Both the mother and new baby, who in this case was also born prematurely, would have been extremely vulnerable, and in no way was this an appropriate placement for them.

“Priority must be given to mothers and their children in emergency accommodation situations to ensure they are given at least some degree of security and not having to move from place to place each night, and spend the days out in the cold.

“The practice of placing women and their new born babies into night by night accommodation must end immediately.

“I am also calling again on the Government to progress the Labour Party’s Homeless Families Bill, which seeks to ensure the best interests of children are recognised by Local Authorities in an emergency accomodation situation.

“We need to see a change in approach to the treatment of children and families in homeless situations.

“More and more research now points to the long term damage caused to children in long term emergency accommodation such as B and Bs and hostels.

“If homeless children continue to be treated this way the Rights of the Child in the Constitution won’t be worth the paper it’s written on and we will have failed our most vulnerable children.”