COUNCIL HOMELESS REPORT IS SLAMMED
TENSIONS were raised at the September meeting of Drogheda Municipal meeting when Councillor Joanna Byrne claimed the council’s report on homeless figures was ‘not worth the paper it was written on’.
At the meeting, Cllr Byrne said Drogheda has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people presenting as homeless; 16 where the figure would normally be between three and five.
She claimed the homelessness report wasn’t worth the paper it was written on and said she could bring officials across town and show them at least three people who are lying in doorways and sleeping rough.
‘ There have been two deaths in Dublin and Cork already,
‘I don’t think it’s just a big city issue and it won’t be too long before it’s on our doorstep,’ she said.
‘ These are not irregular patterns they are consistently sleeping in the same places, some of them are there for months now.’
Responding to her comments, Director of Services with Louth County Council Paddy Donnelly said it was unfair to describe a report that was presented with all due diligence as not worth the paper it was written on.
‘ There needs to be a level of respect that’s not being observed here,’ he said. ‘ We can only manage the homeless situation as presented to us. If they don’t present to us then how can we be aware of it.
‘I’m not going to sit here and have a report that is prepared diligently described as not worth the paper it’s written on. It’s unfair to staff,’ he said. ‘We can withdraw the reports if councillors don’t think they’re of any merit regardless of how figures are compiled or what definitions are used.’
Cllr Byrne said: ‘We have people sleeping in doorways and it’s a regular pattern at this stage. The true reflection of it isn’t in that report.’
Councillor Richie Culhane said the council can only prepare a report based on the numbers and figures before them.
‘As a public representative we have a duty to bring this information to them. If you are aware of someone who is homeless you need to bring it to their attention,’ he said.
Agreeing, Councillor Kevin Callan said he was aware of an incident recently in which an individual was living in their car and council staff made at least five visits to see what they could do to help.
‘ The individual didn’t want to move but the council were excellent,’ he said. ‘ Talk is cheap.’
People have been sleeping on the streets of Drogheda.