Words: Ellen Kenny
President Michael D. Higgins gave an impassioned speech slamming Government policy, declaring the that the housing situation “isn’t a crisis anymore. It is a disaster.”
Stating what most of the country was already feeling, Higgins said, “I think we have to really think about meeting the basic needs of people in a Republic – be that food, shelter or education.”
Higgins was speaking at the opening of a new homeless shelter in Kildare, which is expected to house seven men and five women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Latest figures from the Department of Housing show the number of people in homeless accommodation has gone above ten thousand for the first time since February 2020.
It may not be breaking news to state the obvious, but the President is typically expected to refrain from commenting on political matters and Government proceedings.
Now, Higgins has become just a little frustrated with ten thousands citizens living without homes: “I have taken to speaking ever more frankly in relation to housing because I think it is our great, great, great failure.”
“I often ask myself, you know, how Republican is what we created and isn’t it sometimes very much closer to the Poor Law system, we thought we were departing from.”
A recent study by Social Justice Ireland revealed that as many as 371,000 extra people are living in poverty because of housing costs.
Higgins said housing is “about far more than bricks and mortar”, before adding: “Having a home is so important for every other aspect of citizen participation.”
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