I echo the comments of my colleague, Deputy Boyd Barrett. Three years ago, I met the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon, and highlighted my concern at the time at the inappropriate accommodating of homeless children in hotel rooms and bed and breakfasts and at the lack of action by the Government in tackling the crisis. At that time, I also met the Children’s Rights Alliance regarding the inclusion of children experiencing homelessness in its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. That summer, during the week of 24 to 30 August 2015, there were a shocking 707 homeless families and 1,496 homeless children but by the week of 21 to 27 May 2018, in the most recent figures made available, those numbers had jumped dramatically to 1,724 homeless families with 3,826 homeless children.
Yesterday the Taoiseach spoke about dark chapters in our history, but today tens of thousands of adults and children continue to live through a dark chapter and in plain sight. According to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s homelessness report which Deputy Eoin Ó Broin quoted, almost 6,000 adults and 3,700 children are homeless.