Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Homeless Persons Supports (Continued)
 Header Item Message from Seanad
 Header Item Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Order for Report Stage
 Header Item Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

  6 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley] Both the Health Service Executive and Dublin City Council are supporting Cara Housing in this process and the board of the foyer is now engaged with Dublin Simon in exploring opportunities for the ongoing management of services in keeping with the Government’s policy on addressing homelessness.

The Minister of State, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, recently published the Government's homelessness policy statement. It is a clear, concise and accessible articulation of the political and policy focus that informs the approach to ending homelessness. It places an explicit emphasis on a housing-led approach as the primary response to homelessness. Long-term and sustainable housing should be the primary response to all forms of homelessness. A housing-led approach is the emerging consensus in international social policy, both academically and in practice. It is generally accepted as a positive departure from previous models which saw stable housing as the end goal in combating homelessness and individuals moved through various stages in residential services, from emergency to transitional, before being assessed for long-term independent housing.

The previous approaches to homelessness saw individuals trapped in emergency accommodation for long periods. The emphasis on short-term emergency interventions has proved expensive to administer and operate. More importantly, it did not serve the individual well in terms of dignity and well-being. The housing-led approach to homelessness outlined in the policy statement incorporates the provision of support for people in their homes according to their needs. We need to focus on long-term solutions to homelessness. The goal is to assist homeless persons who can live independently into mainstream accommodation as soon as possible. It is about sustaining tenancies. It is important that a range of housing options is available to enable someone to move out of emergency accommodation as quickly as possible into long-term accommodation more suited to their needs. There can be no greater solution to homelessness than providing people with a home where they can live as full and valued members of society.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh That reply has absolutely nothing to do with the issue I raised. The Department can involve itself in the operational questions around this centre since it is the primary funder. It is a pity the Minister of State, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, is not in the Chamber because she would be well aware of the work of Cara Housing, as she was a director - she possibly still is - and perhaps even was chair of that company. Questions arise about the English Cara Housing Association extracting itself from Ireland.

The centre in question is working. Its success is highlighted by testimonies from social workers and youth workers across the city. With the HSE and the Garda, they attest to the fact that this is the type of centre required. If its ethos is changed, we will end up with the chaotic circumstances one sees in homeless centres in this city. Changing the ethos would mean people on the general homeless list would be entitled to avail of this centre, meaning they would share an open door with St. Catherine’s Community Centre in which there are young people. One could have sex offenders, chaotic drug users and alcoholics going to the complex which was prevented in the past.

The young people in this centre are at risk and not on the transitional housing list but are given two years to allow them the space to get their lives together and back into education or a job. The centre has been successful in this respect, as has been proved in every evaluation of it. Will the Minister intercede before Dublin City Council makes an arrangement with the Simon Community to turn this into a normal Simon homeless centre? There are other alternatives. It could be run by the city council, as happens in Cork, or by another youth service. Several youth services have indicated an interest in running the centre.

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley The future day-to-day operational management of St. Catherine's Foyer is a matter under consideration by the board of Cara Housing Association Limited. This consideration relates to its ongoing role as management agent in the provision of homeless services in Dublin.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Is the Minister of State, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, still on the board of directors of Cara Housing Association Limited? If she is, that would give rise to a conflict of interest.

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley The Minister of State has set out the ambitious target of ending long-term homelessness by the end of 2016 by explicitly adopting a housing-led approach. Considerable funding has been extended to tackle homelessness annually across the Government. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has overseen local government and State expenditure exceeding €50 million a year in respect of the running costs of homeless facilities and associated services. There is also considerable capital investment in homeless services on an annual basis. In addition, the HSE is spending over €30 million on care packages for the homeless every year. A housing-led approach is not just about achieving a better return on public investment. Its driving ambition is ensuring the dignity and value of individuals and families. By definition, a home encompasses security, safety and well-being.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Has the Minister of State resigned from the board of directors of Cara Housing Association Limited?

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley It is not just a place to shelter but a place in which we flourish and from where we contribute to our wider community. The Minister of States’s targets and approach are enlightened.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I agree they are laudable but not in this case. This is a facility that is not even operating at capacity.

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley That will be brought to the Minister of State’s attention.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Good, but she will be well aware of it already.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne The Deputy had his time.

Message from Seanad

Acting Chairman (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne Seanad Éireann has passed the National Lottery Bill 2012, without amendment.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter One would not have bet on that happening.

Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Order for Report Stage

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages

  Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.

  Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank the Minister for his work on this legislation, as I know he has pioneered it. I also thank his officials in the Department who are responsible for bringing it to fruition.

Fianna Fáil made it clear throughout that it had no interest in opposing the Bill. I hope that in the course of our contributions we managed to put in context the reasons the severe sanctions were imposed on Army deserters at the time. The Minister would not want to see widespread desertion from the Defence Forces at any stage. At the time the penalties were understandable and, with the benefit of hindsight more than 70 years on, we realise the need to take action. We hope the survivors, their families and relatives and those directly affected take some consolation in the initiative taken by the Minister and the Houses of the Oireachtas. I hope the broader membership of those who fought in the Second World War against tyranny and the horrendous regime of the Nazis will take some consolation in the words of support and recognition from all sides of the House during the debate. We can take a bow on this issue.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn My party welcomes the legislation, as it is right that the soldiers in question are pardoned. Fascism did not just emerge with Hitler’s rise to power. It was already evident in Mussolini’s Italy and later in Franco’s Spain.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:18:53 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page