The State Has Become Tolerant of Homeless Deaths - Tóibín
Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has offered his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the man found dead on St Andrew’s Street in Dublin yesterday. An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“This is a heart breaking situation and our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the poor man that died. Nearly 400 people have died in homelessness in 5 years just in Dublin. The figure is far higher nationally, but the government doesn’t feel the need to record the number of people dying around the country in homelessness. Documents released to the Aontú by Dublin City Council show that in the first half of last year 20 homeless people died in Dublin. That’s nearly one death for every week in that timeframe. The truth is the political establishment has become tolerant of the weekly deaths of people in homelessness.
“These are harrowing and distressing statistics which have been provided to me. Behind each one of these statistics is an individual and their family and friends. The ages at death are deeply concerning. Of the twenty people who died while homeless in Dublin in the first half of last year, one of them was under the age of 17, four of them were aged between twenty and 29 years, and a further ten were aged between 30 and 49 years,” he said.
“Its chilling that over two thirds of these deaths were of people younger than me. Aontú has long been campaigning for an investigation into the spike in homeless deaths. Indeed it was on the back of my raising the matter in the Dáil that an investigation was announced in 2020. The reason I called for the investigation is because I was concerned that deaths tend to spike so much over the winter”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “The findings of the subsequent report produced by the Health Research Board made for sad reading. Substance abuse and mental ill health were big factors here, but the report also cites how “the deaths were primarily the result of the social determinants of health, including inadequate accommodation, poverty, lack of employment, child and adult trauma and imprisonment”.
“We know the causes of the deaths and what we need now is urgent implementation of solutions – we need the Departments of Health, Justice, Children and Education to work together on this – from DEIS schools to psychologists, to social workers and prison officers. It is a scandal that people are dying homeless in Ireland in 2024 and that the government has taken so long to respond”.
“We also urgently need the government to begin to record homeless deaths in other counties and local authorities – these statistics I have only relate to Dublin – if we don’t quantify the problem around the country we cannot get near solving it!” concluded Tóibín.