Dail meeting addressed by homeless mother

by Aisling Kennedy

YOUNG homeless mother Erica Fleming, who is quickly becoming the face of homelessness in Dublin, gave an impassioned speech about the affect homelessness is having on herself and her nine-year-old daughter, Emily, at a specially convened meeting in Dail Eireann last week.
A video of her talk was posted onto social media later that day and it has so far received almost 30,000 views.
Erica, who works part time but is currently living in emergency accommodation, sat beside Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF) as she spoke about her wish for all parties in the Government to set aside their differences and come together to find a solution to the homelessness crisis.
Erica spoke to The Gazette this week and said: “A lot of different parties came to hear me talk – Sinn Fein, AAA, People Before Profit Alliance, and some Independents.
“Everybody that was in the room that day agreed that political differences needed to be put aside to tackle the homelessness crisis. I was very happy with that response.”
Missing at the talk on the day, however, were representatives of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour, all of whom received an invitation to attend the meeting, according to Erica.
“I bumped into Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin in the Dail bar following my talk and I asked him if he would meet me on another date to discuss the crisis.
“I gave him my number and he said that his secretary would give me a call in the next few days.”
Mr Martin followed up on his promise by meeting the campaigner for homelessness yesterday (Wednesday) where Erica impressed on him the importance of all parties accepting the plight of the people without homes.
She also gave him a first-hand account of what it is like to be homeless in Dublin.
The Gazette had earlier contacted Deputy Martin for a response, and a spokesperson said: “Deputy Micheal Martin’s office is in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with Ms Fleming and we hope that arrangements can be made shortly.
“Fianna Fail outlined a series of policy proposals prior to the general election aimed at addressing the homelessness crisis. Ending the crisis is one of four key priorities contained in the Fianna Fail general election manifesto.”
Meanwhile, Erica is planning to hold a second protest march on Sunday, April 24, to highlight the ongoing crisis.
She told The Gazette: “I will be holding the protest march on the actual commemoration date of the 1916 Easter Rising. A number of other homelessness charity groups are also holding separate protests to highlight the crisis on the same day, too.
“My protest will begin at 2pm outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, and everyone is welcome to attend.”

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