Credit: Gript

‘Shameful’: 357 homeless people have died in Dublin since 2018; 70 homeless deaths so far this year

357 homeless people have died in Dublin since 2018, with 70 people in the homeless community passing away so far this year, new statistics released to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín have revealed.

The shocking figures were released to Aontú under the Freedom of Information Act. It comes as the number of homeless people dying in Ireland has risen steadily year on year. It was recently revealed that a total of 115 homeless people died in Dublin in 2021 – more than double the number who died in 2019. In 2020, 76 people from the homeless community in Dublin died, while in 2019, 49 died.

Irish homeless figures reached a devastating new record high during the summer, and the number of homeless in Ireland now exceeds 10,000. A total of 10,805 people in Ireland were in emergency accommodation in the week ending 28 August, including 7,585 adults and 3,220 children.

That marked a 237-person increase since the end of July when a previous high of 10,568 was recorded. Dublin is believed to account for 70% of homeless adults in Ireland, with 5,326 adults making use of accommodation in the capital at the end of August according to Department of Housing Figures made public earlier this month.

Speaking today, party leader, Peadar Tóibín TD, said Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien should be “losing sleep” over the figures, saying the jarring new statistics are a damning indictment of our government and our society.

 “The Minister for Housing should feel a deep sense of shame over these statistics which have been released to Aontú under Freedom of Information,” Mr Tóibín said. 

“He should be losing sleep over this. We talk about the housing crisis day in and day out in the Dáil. This is the harsh reality on paper – 357 homeless people have died over the past five years in Dublin alone. 

“What does that fact say about our government and our society? When asked in the Dáil about the state of O’Connell street last week the Taoiseach indicated that it was an issue for the city council. The government cannot relegate all these issues to the council”. 

Deputy Tóibín said it is shameful that “nothing has been done” to tackle the situation among Ireland’s homeless, describing the statistics as ‘dark’.

“Dublin City Council is, to my knowledge, the only local authority which actually records the death rate among people who are homeless,” he continued.

“Aontú have raised these issues in the Dáil on many occasions over the past few years. It is utterly shameful that nothing has been done.

“Indeed, on one occasion Minister O’Brien appeared to try to play down the statistics by suggesting that some of these deaths could have been as a result of car accidents, thus calling our interpretation of these statistics into question. These are dark statistics. We need to do better by vulnerable people in our country”.

He said that the onset of harsh winter conditions will only see the situation worsen for those on the streets, as he pointed out that the soaring statistics reflect the situation in Dublin alone. This means that the number of deaths that happen throughout the rest of the country go unrecorded.

“The weather is only going to get worse as we head into winter and I am extremely concerned that these figures will rise sharply in the months to come. This is just in the capital. 

“Unfortunately and shockingly the government don’t even record the number of homeless deaths that happen throughout the rest of the country and we in Aontú have been calling for the government to do that, if a government can’t analyse what’s happening it’s not going to be able to put in place the necessary supports to ensure that lives are saved”, he said. 

In July 2022, a report found that the number of homeless families living in hotels in Dublin had almost doubled in one year. The report from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) found that 177 homeless families were living in commercial hotels in May 2022, an increase of 87 families compared with May 2021.

A total of 972 families in the capital were living in emergency accommodation in May, an increase of 16 compared with April of the same year, and 284 compared with May 2021, according to the figures. The damning report also found there were 600 more children in emergency accommodation in May 2022 than in May 2021, with the more recent figure standing at 2,259.

Last week, figures provided to ministers showed that more than half of families becoming homeless in Ireland are being forced out of private rental accommodation.

The Cabinet was privately told that the housing crisis has pushed the State’s system of emergency accommodation for the homeless to breaking point, a report in The Independent said. The figures detailed how 19 local authorities are at capacity, while the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has been forced to place people in Meath, Kildare, and Wicklow. 

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