Dublin has been rocked by a series of tragic incidents involving the capital’s homeless population.
A man was been left with life-changing injuries when his tent was forcibly removed by industrial equipment utilised by Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland at Wilton Terrace last week.
The incident made headlines globally, with Newsweek and CNN covering the story, as well as causing outrage on social media amongst Dubliners and the wider populace ahead of the upcoming general election.
A young woman also died in a city centre hostel last Wednesday, while an elderly woman with dementia was brought to the Mater Hospital by Inner City Helping Homeless after being found sleeping rough through heavy rain last Thursday.
Homelessness in Ireland has increased by more than 300% since November, 2014, with the latest figures showing that there are more than 10,400 homeless people, at present – including 3,752 children.
According to Focus Ireland, this number does not include ‘hidden homelessness’, which incorporates people who are living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’ with friends.
Speaking to Dublin Gazette, housing activist Patrick Nelis said that he fears homelessness is becoming normalised in Ireland, and that he’s never seen the situation as bad as it is at present.
He said: “I fear things are getting to the point where the Government has almost normalised homelessness.
“I’ve never seen things as bad, and I really do fear there’re going to be more deaths on the streets.
“There are issues and there are solutions, mainly building social and affordable housing, but also the policing of hostels.
“I’ve met people on the ground who don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, and say that hostels are too unsafe for them.
“There’s no policing of the hostels, and there needs to be solutions introduced.
“Seeing [homeless] people in their 60s and 70s is a new low; nobody that age should be walking the streets, neither should families or young people – there needs to be more solutions introduced, as I do genuinely fear for the next year or two,” said Nelis.