A plan to house homeless people on a cruise ship has been considered by Dublin City Council.
Originally mooted two years ago, the idea would have seen a rented ship used to home around 100 to 150 single people,
But it has emerged that the council’s chief executive Owen Keegan suggested the plan could be “revisited” in a September letter to Ireland’s housing minister Eoghan Murphy that was obtained by The Irish Times.
After it was made public by the newspaper Mr Murphy insisted on Twitter that the idea was “not suitable for homeless families in need.”
Deputy Chief Executive of Dublin City Council Brendan Kenny confirmed to The Independent that the idea was not being pursued at present, but added: “It’s something we wouldn’t rule out in the future.”
“Our energy must go in to providing real homes,” he said. “This is the long term solution. Meanwhile if people find themselves homeless then we must provide good quality, safe, dignified accommodation. Housing people on a ship does not tick any of these boxes.”
Brian McLoughlin, Head of Communications at Dublin homeless charity ICHH described the cruise ship plan as “outrageous” and called on authorities to act in more practical ways.
“The council need to look at the huge number of council owned homes that are currently vacant and bring those homes back online as a matter of urgency,” he said. “The government also need to look to enforce compulsory purchase orders on the properties owned by private landlords and vulture funds that sit empty during the worst homelessness and housing emergency in the history of our state.”
Homelessness has been growing in Ireland for several years but has recently become a political hot potato, in part because of the amount of families being made homeless through a shortage of social housing, rising rent costs and evictions.
August statistics showed that there were 9,527 people homeless in Ireland, with 1,698 families with 3,693 children accessing emergency accommodation. Earlier this week An estimated 10,000 people marched through Dublin as part of the #RaiseTheRoof protest, with a broad array of politicians, families and students assembling to demand a solution.
Mr Murphy survived a motion of no confidence which was called in the Irish parliament by Sinn Féin. He later told a committee that he did not know when the crisis would peak, but defended his attempts to solve it.
“I can tell you we are in the middle of a very serious crisis,” he said. “I can tell you that it is linked fundamentally to a lack of houses being built, but I can also tell you the building of new homes is ramping up very dramatically.”