Level of Homeless Children Presenting to Temple Street Betrays Vision of Democratic Programme

22 January 2019

Statement by Joe Costello

Labour Spokesperson for Urban Regeneration, Joe Costello, has called on the government to act to tackle the sustained rise in childhood homeless. 

Mr. Costello said:

"The sharp increase in the number of homeless children who were treated in Temple St Hospital in 2018 compared to 2017 from 651 to 842 is alarming.

"It reflects the increasing level of homeless nationally and, even more worryingly, reflects the increasing duration of time during which children continue to remain homeless.

"Sustained periods of homelessness put enormous mental and physical pressure on parents and their families as life becomes a daily grind of uncertainty and instability which can quickly undermine the health and wellbeing of children who are already vulnerable. 

"At the same time, Temple St Children’s Hospital is under severe pressure in continuing to provide a first-class treatment service for children as its redevelopment has been on hold for nearly forty years!

"Indeed the long-promised National Paediatric Hospital was initially planned as an iconic project to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and the 1916 Proclamation to cherish the children of the nation. That deadline is long gone.

"Yesterday we celebrated the historic occasion of the First Dail and its equally inclusive and child-centred Democratic Programme. Yet today we are no closer to achieving the vision of the founders of our democracy.

"In 2019, our 100th year of national democracy, we should pledge to honour that vision. We should consciously marshal the energies of the nation, the Parliament and people, to ensure that every child in Ireland has adequate shelter, health, and education."