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Dublin City Council planned to house homeless on a 'cruise ship'

Dublin City Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Correspondence was released to the Irish Times

Dublin City Council is reconsidering a plan to house homeless on a cruise ship.

The idea of renting a private cruise ship for 100 to 150 homeless individuals was previously dropped.

There are 1,367 families in homeless accommodation in Dublin alone, latest figures show.

On Thursday afternoon, the Irish government was defeated in a vote on a cross-party motion to declare housing and homelessness a national emergency.

The motion, tabled by Solidarity-People Before Profit, received support from all parties outside government.

The motion was supported by 83 votes, with one TD abstaining and 43 voting against it.

Speaking in the Dáil, tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney said the delay in delivery of social housing is about the capacity of local authorities to deliver at the pace they are being asked to deliver.

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 9,891 people accessing emergency accommodation across the Republic of Ireland - 6,024 adults and 3,867 children.

In Dublin, the number of homeless families registered has increased by 229 families since September 2017.

Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council's chief executive, told the housing minister in September that the plan to house some homeless on a ship could be "revisited".

'Targets unlikely to be achieved'

Mr Keegan was responding to letters sent by Irish Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to Dublin's four local authorities about targets to provide additional homeless family hub accommodation and beds for rough sleepers.

Mr Keegan said that targets to house 300 extra homeless families in family hubs were "unlikely to be achieved", according to correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The correspondence was released to the Irish Times.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Approximately 12,000 people took part in a national rally in Dublin to protest the housing crisis.

He told the minister that the chances of meeting these targets would be increased if previous council proposals such as the cruise liner plan were revisited.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Brendan Kenny, head of the council's housing services, the council previously decided against pursuing the plan, "but it is something we are not ruling out" for the future.

Raise the Roof

On Wednesday, approximately 12,000 people took part in a national rally in Dublin to protest the housing crisis.

Housing Minister Mr Murphy reiterated on Wednesday night that emergency responses to the housing crisis are being put in place.

In a tweet on Thursday, he said the cruise ship idea is not suitable for homeless families in need.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The Irish government was defeated in a vote on a cross-party motion to declare housing a national emergency

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin told RTÉ that declaring a national emergency would show that the Irish government has not made the progress it is claiming to have made.

'Huge capital package'

In addition, he said, if declaring an emergency was followed up with simple measures, such as passing the Focus Ireland amendment to help keep tenants in their homes, it would help reduce the flow of people into homelessness.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Mr Coveney said the government had allocated a "a huge capital package" and is committed to a dramatic increase in the provision of publicly funding social housing.

He said that from his experience as minister for housing, money is not the obstacle in delivering the volume of housing required, but about processes and decision making which he said have delayed the provision of social housing.

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