Over half of local authorities have no capacity in emergency homeless accommodation, Sinn Féin says

Tánaiste ‘completely out of touch’ for suggesting housing market is turning corner, the party says

Figures released by Sinn Féin indicate that more than half of the local authorities in the country have no capacity available in emergency homeless accommodation.

The party published figures on Tuesday that its representatives had gathered on the availability of emergency beds.

Even as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said many people who become homeless do not end up in emergency accommodation, Sinn Féin said the figures showed the government must reverse course on its decision to end the eviction ban - as the party seeks to keep the political heat on the coalition over the controversial decision.

According to the figures released by Sinn Féin, Cavan, Clare, Dun Laoighaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, South Dublin, Westmeath and Wicklow county councils have no capacity.


Dublin and Galway city councils have none, with the capital sending homeless people to Kildare and Meath to be accommodated. Limerick City and County Council also said it has no capacity, with a waiting list for emergency beds.

Several other local authorities indicated they were extremely low on bedspaces, including Cork County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Louth County Council and Tipperary County Council.

On Tuesday, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman, Cavan-Monaghan TD Matt Carthy accused Tánaiste Micheál Martin of being “completely removed and out of touch” for suggesting the Irish housing market is turning a corner.

Speaking in Dublin today, he also accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of “clearly not living in the world that is the reality for many workers and families”.

He said the figures showed that government must extend the eviction ban and put in place emergency measures.

“These are people who work, as Leo Varadkar might put it, they are people who get up early in the morning and they are in a situation that no other generation of Irish people in their position are in, that they have to go and seek accommodation,” he said.

He rejected the suggestion that extending the ban would store up a bigger problem for the future, with more evictions eventually materialising which would overload the emergency accommodation system even more so.

“For those families, they are in an emergency, and government needs to act accordingly,” he said. Mr Carthy said Sinn Féin would support a policy that allowed returning emigrants who faced homelessness to evict someone from their property.

“We aren’t looking to replace one set of homeless people with another, and we have supported and would support a provision to allow people who are themselves homeless to gain possession of their own home,” he said.

Asked about the prospect of tax breaks for landlords and renters, he said there was “no evidence” to suggest landlords are issuing eviction notices because of the taxation system.

“There is an attempt by government to create this as a battle between landlords and renters - this is very clearly a battle between government and renters, because government are making a conscious decision to make many renters homeless over the coming months,” he said.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times