Drogheda Independent - - NEWS - BY FIONA MAGENNIS

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.

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