Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Dessie Ellis TD has called for immediate coordinated action between the Department of Environment and Dublin City council to tackle the rising levels of homelessness and rough sleeping.

He made his comments as a delegation of Dublin Sinn Féin representatives met with Ministers Kelly and Coffey in the wake of the death of Jonathan Corrie, a homeless man just yards from the Dáil. The delegation was made up of Deputy Ellis, Mayor of South Dublin County Council Cllr Fintan Warfield, DCC Housing SPC chairperson Cllr Críona Ní Dhalaigh and Cllr Seamus McGrattan.

Deputy Ellis said:

“We had a positive and constructive meeting with the Ministers about the need to finally begin tackling homelessness and ensuring tragedies like the death of Jonathan Corrie are not repeated.

“Our delegation called for immediate action on this issue to come from the meeting. This must include urgent increases in the number of emergency accommodation places available in the city. We have identified a number of potential sources for this accommodation which we have given to the Ministers for their consideration and we will be pushing for work to be done to bring them into use.

“We also urged for an improved awareness on the issue so that we can more accurately gauge the scale of the problem and the level of resources needed to turn the tide on this crisis. This must be done with the department, local authorities and charities working side by side and pooling our knowledge to effectively place resources where they are needed.

“We also stressed the need to stem the flow of tenants into homelessness by protecting renters from eviction. This must be done with Rent Control measures as rent rates have become far beyond what is affordable for many struggling people. Tenants must also be protected from eviction in the case of repossession or receivership processes, which have been a major problem for Rent Supplement and RAS tenants in recent years.

“This was a positive meeting but it changes nothing if we do not begin to put these ideas into action along with a major investment in social housing provision which is yet lacking from government policy despite recent spin.”