"Urgent inquiry needed into major spike in homeless death rate" - Tóibín
At Leaders’ Questions today Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD told the Dáil that the death rate among people who are homeless is spiralling out of control. Addressing the Taoiseach, he said:
"I have received statistics from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive which represent a serious cause for alarm. The death toll among people in our capital who are homeless is spiralling out of control. So far the number of homeless people who have died in the capital this year exceeds fifty people, this compares with thirty four people for the whole of last year and thirty five people for the whole of the previous year - a shocking figure, especially because the year isn't over yet".
Deputy Tóibín echoed the concerns of Independent Cllr Anthony Flynn of Inner City Helping Homeless about the crisis. Tóibín stated;
"Homeless deaths typically peak between November and December. I'm urging the Taoiseach to read the reports from the DRHE and examine the specific cases. One man was found dead the day after he was released from prison. Young women in their twenties dying from suicide and drug overdoses. There was an incredibly tragic situation where a man was discharged from a hospital, walked around a corner and hung himself from a railing. This is a profound human crisis. These men and women are the same as any of us, they've just had different life experiences"
Deputy Tóibín continued: "We need a proper investigation into the figures to find out why the death rate is spiralling out of control, and we also need to be furnished with the figures for other counties, because at the moment we only have statistics for Dublin. I have concerns also about the fact that homeless people who seek help in Dublin are being told to go home to their home counties, but are unable to do so due to the lockdown and as a result are sleeping on the streets. Many providers of emergency accommodation are doing the best they can, but others need real oversight and need to be regulated by HIQA. Standardisation is needed".
"What we have here is a tale of two countries during a pandemic where the vulnerable are being left behind - people with cancer, people with mental health struggles, workers on low wages, those in meat factories, homeless people, assylum seekers and those in nursing homes. I'm asking the Taoiseach today to commit to investigating why there is a significant spike in the number of people who have died homeless in our capital this year", concluded Deputy Tóibín.