Family sent to Garda station for ‘safe place to stay’ as no emergency accommodation available

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said Dublin family were told there was no place for them

A family was advised to present at a Garda station for a “safe place to stay” after South Dublin County Council and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive said there was no emergency accommodation available for them, Sinn Féin has told the Dáil.

The party’s deputy leader, Pearse Doherty, said under the Government’s watch, families were now being told by local authorities that “where they need to go to stay safe is to the local Garda station”.

Meanwhile, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said the Government does not have projections as to how many people are expected to enter homelessness over the coming months after the eviction ban expires.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said if the ban had been extended, it would have had to be continued for “two years” and this would “irreparably damage supply” in the rental market.


There were heated exchanges between the Opposition and the Government in the Dáil again on Thursday, following the decision not to extend the current eviction ban which expires at the end of this month.

Mr Doherty said his party colleague, Dublin Mid-West TD Mark Ward, had received a letter from South Dublin County Council about a family, made up of one adult and two children, who are homeless.

Government decision after decision has taken the basic right of having a roof over your head away from an entire generation of people

—  Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin

“The council have told the family that they have no emergency accommodation for them. The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive has told the family that there is no available accommodation for them, and this is before the eviction ban is even lifted,” Mr Doherty said.

“The family were told by the council to present at a Garda station for, and I quote, ‘a safe place to stay’.”

The Donegal TD said week after week Fianna Fáil “trot out slogans” that it was the party of home ownership which was “complete and utter nonsense”.

“This is a wealthy country but Government decision after decision has taken the basic right of having a roof over your head away from an entire generation of people,” Mr Doherty said.

In response, Mr Martin said the only people trotting out populist soundbites in relation to housing was Mr Doherty and his party.

The Tánaiste said “the corner was turned last year” in relation to ramping up housing supply, from 20,000 new builds in 2021 to 30,000 in 2022.

The Fianna Fáil leader said Sinn Féin opposed the Help to Buy scheme, the First Homes Scheme and the Land Development Agency as well as housing schemes at local authority level and the party “talk out of both sides of your mouth on this”.

Mr Martin said Sinn Féin was “demonising landlords” for the “last three and four years” adding “you want them out of the market”.

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns asked how was it that Fianna Fáil, “rightly proud of its previous record of housing generations between the 1930s and 1970s, is now endorsing homelessness not housing”.

“Your own Minister, Darragh O’Brien, has been clear, homelessness will increase as a result of this decision,” she said.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the decision to lift the eviction ban was “absolutely unforgivable”. The Dún Laoghaire TD said rather than engage in “constant deflection, justification in enunciating your supposed successes in housing policy”, the Government had to tell people who are facing homelessness “what they are going to do”.

Earlier, Mr O’Brien defended the Government’s position and said it had been a “difficult” but the “right decision” that was in the “best public interest in the medium term” not to extend the moratorium. The Minister also added the Government did not have projections for homelessness figures over the coming months following questioning from Labour TD Duncan Smith.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times