Ógra Aontú have expressed their shock at the murder of a homeless man in Dublin this week. Spokesperson for the group Luke-Peter Silke said:

“We in Ógra Aontú have been highlighting the plight of people who are homeless in recent weeks. Last month we secured statistics from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive which showed a dramatic increase in the number of homeless deaths in July. I’ve recently moved back up to Dublin, having spent the past few months at home in Galway during the pandemic and cannot help but notice a huge change on the streets of the capital. I’m noticing much more begging in the city centre, and also a very troubling sight of drops and splashed blood on the pavements. This is just shocking to see, and I’m convinced that it has worsened since the last time I was in Dublin”.

Luke-Peter continued; “Today we learned that a teenager has been charged with the murder of a homeless man in Dublin during the week. Some news outlets are reporting that the youth may have murdered the man with his ‘bare fists’ as he attempted to steal a mobile phone. Graphic stories like these highlight the fact that there is something seriously wrong in our society. The situation in relation the recent spike in homeless deaths in Dublin needs to be declared an emergency. Our capital city is changing, our culture is changing, and the government must wake up to the reality of what’s happening on our streets. Last month Ógra Aontú wrote to Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Hazel Chu, requesting that she re-enact the Lord Mayor’s Homeless Forum as a matter of urgency. To date we have not received any response from the Lord Mayor on our question”.

“Ógra Aontú believe that the Minister for Housing and indeed the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs need to come before the Dáil to answer questions on these frightening statistics. It’s becoming clearer by the day, with every new statistic released, that the vulnerable have been neglected and left behind by the government during this pandemic, be it people who are homeless, those in nursing homes or direct provision centres, the vulnerable have been treated as an afterthought. This attitude needs to change radically, especially as our nation faces into a recession, we need to focus the bulk of our energy on protecting and helping our most vulnerable citizens”, concluded Luke Peter.