Clonmel sleep-out under Main Guard to support those experiencing homelessness

Focus Ireland Shine A Light Night takes place in Clonmel on Friday

Dylan White

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Dylan White

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dylan.white@iconicnews.ie

A sleep-out will take place at The Main Guard in Clonmel tonight (Friday) “in solidarity with families and individuals experiencing homelessness”.

Organised by Seamus Healy TD, Teresa Johnson and Cllr Pat English, the peaceful gathering is part of Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2018.

Focus Ireland helped 700 families to escape homelessness and move into a home of their own last year, with Shine A Light Night events nationwide central to achieving this.

“Tonight is about highlighting the huge homeless crisis across the country and supporting the work of Focus Ireland,” Deputy Healy tells The Nationalist.

The sleep-out starts at 8pm and runs until 8am Saturday morning. Locals are encouraged to stop by and show their support to those who are homeless or in housing difficulty.

There were 388 men, women and children in emergency accomodation in the South East during the month of August, with 66 adults alone in emergency accomodation in Tipperary.

“There’s not one day that goes by that I don't get a call from someone who is homeless or got a notice to quit their private accommodation. People are finding themselves in situations where they are sleeping on the floor or couch of family members or friends.

“When we spoke about homelessness in the past, it tended to be single individuals. There are now families with children homeless, living in bed and breakfasts or hostels, right across Tipperary. The housing crisis is so epidemic that it is right across the country. There are over 3,000 people on the social housing list in Tipperary. The last schemes of houses built in Tipperary were in 2004-2005 and that was the completion of schemes that started a few years earlier," Deputy Healy says.

Deputy Healy describes Eoghan Murphy coming down to turn the sod on the 26 new social houses at Glennconnor Hill in Clonmel recently as a “spectacle”, adding: “The sod was turned on them when Alan Kelly was minister in the September of 2015 and they still aren't ready. We need an emergency house-building programme of public housing on public land. Everybody involved in the housing crisis, the likes of Peter McVerry, Focus Ireland and the Simon Community, agrees with this.

“The Government has never met its targets. The majority of the difficulty is down to supply. This week’s Budget effectively continued the policy of public housing being a matter for private developers and private landlords. We need local authorities building large numbers of houses on public land. They were able to do that in the 60s, 70s and 80s and they are not doing it now. The Government has promised and promised but the only thing that has gone up is unfortunately the homeless numbers.”