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Social Democrats Co-Leader Catherine Murphy says she has major questions regarding what she described as the ‘horrendous incident’ involving a man in a tent on the banks of Dublin’s grand canal yesterday lunchtime. Catherine Murphy said she could not understand how such a serious incident could have occurred.

“That a person in a tent would be simply swept up, as it appears, by a JCB in full operating mode is simply unconscionable. I really fail to understand how it would occur that where a tent is in the path of one of these large machines, that it wouldn’t be checked to ensure nobody was present. Even if it were empty it seems particularly inhumane to sweep up somebody’s sole source of refuge from the elements as if it were rubbish causing a nuisance.

“We have a homeless emergency and the narrative that tent use should be discouraged comes from a place of unimaginable privilege. For those who sleep on the streets they often have to make the choice that they are safer in a tent than they may be in a hostel. Rather than the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive refusing to issue tents so as not to cause an eyesore or to encourage street sleeping, perhaps they would be better advised to help address the underlying policy failures which sees increasing numbers of people facing night after night in a tent on our city streets.

“That the attitude of national and/or official bodies such as DCC or Waterways Ireland to tents and those who find shelter in those tents is to treat them as rubbish speaks absolute volumes about where we are as a society. The policy failures regarding housing and homelessness are creating a dangerous disconnect between the basic decency and humanity of ordinary people who are appalled at the fact that so many people find their only refuge in a tent on our streets, and the official bodies who want to deny such a basic level of shelter, is huge and I really hope people use this election as an opportunity to show official Ireland that we do not recognise that level of inhumanity and nor will we accept it. Our thoughts today are with the man and his family and friends.”

15th Jan 2020


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