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Number of homeless in Ireland up one third in a year

THE number of officially homeless people in Ireland has risen by almost a third in less than a year, the country’s housing department has admitted.

In the week ending January 28 there were 9,104 homeless people, including 3,267 children, in Ireland — a 32 per cent rise from the 7,421 officially homeless in February 2017.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the figures were “unbelievably frustrating” — but Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s position was “increasingly untenable” as child homelessness had doubled since the last election.

Mr Varadkar replied that the government was “acting” but “not getting the results we need.”

The Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) demanded “public housing for all” as “only by giving every citizen a right to a home, rented from the state for a percentage of their income, can we fight back against the intensifying forces of neoliberal capitalism that have seen the number of homeless families surge.

“With the average increase in rents from 2011-17 hitting 45 per cent and the average increase in wages a mere 5 per cent, working people are being squeezed for the wellbeing of the landlord class and to reduce the cost to the exchequer of the bank bailout through an increase in asset prices,” CPI general secretary Eugene McCartan charged.

“Some groups are saying that the housing system is broken — but it is operating exactly as Fine Gael and their allies in the landlord and developer class intend.”

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