At the September Council meeting of Drogheda Municipal District, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne queried the monthly homelessness report produced by the local authority.
Joanna Byrne pointed out “that again this month there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who are presenting as homeless in the Drogheda district, but I don’t find the report accurate and it is not a true reflection of the current homelessness situation in the town.”
Cllr Byrne said “I note that this month there has been a decrease in numbers presenting as homeless in both the Ardee and Dundalk districts and a significant increase in the numbers in Drogheda. But even at that, to be frank, I don’t find this report worth the paper it’s printed on. I can walk you over this town right now and show you several people sleeping in doorways. These are not irregular patterns, they are consistently sleeping in the same places, some of them for months now.”
These comments were met with severe opposition from Paddy Donnelly, Director of Services with LCC who refuted the fact that this report wasn’t worth reading and stressed the work that goes into compiling it.
Cllr Byrne came back and said that whilst she meant no disrespect to the staff in the housing department, “the awareness needs to be there that the homeless crisis in Drogheda is much bigger than the local authority’s report portrays, be it down to the fact that maybe some of these people are not presenting themselves to the authority as homeless, or whatever the case may be, but the reality is that this is a growing epidemic and needs to be addressed.
“With the week that is in it and us having three homeless people die nationally, be under no illusion that these are not just big city issues, it won’t be long until a tragedy like that darkens our doors.”