Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The deaths of three people on the streets of Cork in just six weeks highlights the need for an additional accommodation centre for the homeless in the city according to Fianna Fáil who claim the situation is “scandalous”.

A 47-year-old Polish man was found dead near the Cork Simon Community shelter in the city centre last Saturday morning.

The man was covered by blankets and had been sleeping rough in a doorway. Gardaí are not treating the death as suspicious.

Cllr Fergal Dennehy, who has worked with the homeless, says additional facilities are needed to address what is now a crisis in the city.

“It is scandalous that we have had three deaths in recent times on the streets of Cork. We need a more diverse range of facilities in Cork,” he said.

We have one main facility in Anderon’s Quay. Within that (Simon) facility you have 18-year-old girls right up to 70-year-old men. We have people in there with addictions and people without addiction.

“I am aware of people who have gone in with no addiction whatsoever and have come out of there after picking up addictions because they are surrounded by it.”

Two years ago the deaths of homeless women Kathleen O’Sullivan, 43, and 30-year-old Jennifer Dennehy in Cork sparked outrage. However, Cllr Dennehy now fears that such deaths are fast becoming the norm.

Kathleen O’Sullivan

Meanwhile, the previous homeless deaths over the last six weeks in Cork involved men in their 30s who had been using services such as Simon and Penny Dinners.

Speaking earlier this week in Cork Tanaiste Simon Coveney refuted suggestions that the Government was turning a blind eye to homelessness.

“I would say that anybody who thinks that homelessness and housing are not a priority for Government does not understand what we are trying to do,” he said.

“That does not mean that there are not tragedies happening which remind the Government every week of the urgency of this issue. This is why we have dramatically increased budgets in this area.

“We are continuing to work with local government to try to ensure the emergency solutions that are in place for people who are homeless are working.

“We will continue to work with local government to try to be more effective in this area.

“Whenever somebody dies tragically on our streets it is a reminder that the Government needs to do more,” he said.

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