Cllr Joanna Byrne: Extra Hostel Needed for People with Addictions

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has welcomed the passing of her Drogheda Council motion calling for additional homeless services to be provided in Drogheda to facilitate those with entrenched Alcohol and Drug issues.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Byrne said whilst she recognised the phenomenal work Louth County Council and their Homeless liaison team do, she felt there was “an over-reliance” on the NGO’s in the town at times.

Cllr Byrne said “Louth is experiencing much higher presentations of homelessness than our neighbouring counties, but I fear this is not a true reflection of how prevalent this issue is as many homeless people do not meet the criteria and rules of current solutions offered by the Local Authority, mainly down to battling addictions and therefore ending up on the streets. They are not included in any figures or homeless reports.”

In a written response to her motion, Cllr Byrne was told that a multi-agency review for a low threshold hostel in Drogheda has now been listed as an action in the draft Homeless Action Plan 2018-2020, and if the need is confirmed in the review to be undertaken by the HSE and the Local Authority, steps will be taken to open one. Cllr Byrne pushed this with the Director of Service for Housing, Paddy Donnelly, asking how long it would take. “This is urgent, it can’t be allowed to drag on for years.”

Mr. Donnelly advised that the Council recognised the need and assured Cllr Byrne this would be a priority in 2019.

Cllr Joanna Byrne express her thanks for the cross-party support for her motion and re-iterated the fact that “there are people sleeping rough in the doorways and parks in Drogheda and this is solely down to them battling addictions  like alcohol or drugs.”

She added “The current set-up of just a ‘dry facility’ in this town is no longer adequate, we need to be broad-minded enough to recognise Drogheda is evolving and so is our homeless situation, we also need a ‘wet facility’ to ensure we are meeting the needs of everybody experiencing homelessness, and can no longer leave anybody to sleep on our streets. If they have a roof over their heads they can then begin to access other services to help them with their other issues but this is the first step. A roof is a basic human right and the onus is on us as a Local Authority to provide that!”

 

The actual text of the motion said:

“This Council calls for a Homeless Hostel in Drogheda to assist Homeless people with entrenched Alcohol & Drug issues.

We recognise these addictions are significant contributing factors to making these people homeless and at present we do not have the provisions in place to alleviate these issues and assist those in our town who need it.”

 

Figures from the Department of Housing for October showed:

133 people accessed emergency accommodation in the whole of the North east Region

124 of these were in Louth

7 were in Cavan

2 were in Monaghan

Adams calls for implementation of UN Con. on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams joined with party colleagues on Tuesday evening in the Dáil in demanding that the government do more to deliver on the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He commended Louth Groups and individuals who advocate their services for citizens with disabilities.

He said: “They provide much needed supports for citizens in this constituency with disabilities and have fought a battle a day with successive governments over the lack of funding, planning and resources. It took 11 years for the government to ratify the UN Convention. This is totally contrary to the Convention and is unacceptable.”

In March this year, 11 years after the state signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Government finally ratified the Convention.

On Tuesday, at a briefing with a range of disability groups the difficulties confronting citizens with disabilities, including the lack of planning, resources and funding, were discussed.

Gerry Adams TD said:

“The eventual ratification by the government of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was an important step forward. However, it is meaningless if the Convention is not implemented in full and if the legislation needed to achieve this is not enacted by the Oireachtas.

That means that the Government must ratify the Optional Protocol, as they had previously promised. In addition, the Assisted-Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 remains at a standstill with the essential establishment of a Decision Support Service still awaited. We also need progress on the enactment of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.

Today in a briefing organised by Teachta O Caoláin, Shelley Gaynor and James Cawley from Independent Living Movement Ireland; Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland; Kathy Moore, Rehab Ireland; Allen Dunne, Disability Federation of Ireland and Joan Carthy, Irish Wheelchair Association; told us that without adequate services citizens living with disabilities are like prisoners.

In Louth I work with many groups and individuals who advocate for services for people with disabilities; groups like the Parents and Friends of the Intellectually Disabled; Louth Respite Group; WALK Peer, and others. I commend them all”.