Solidarity TD Mick Barry has this morning responded to accusations by Junior Minister Damien English that he was 'out of order' in the Dail yesterday and should retract comments he made in regards to the number of people who are homeless.
Mick Barry accused the government of 'fiddling' the homeless figures. Junior Minister English called on Deputy Barry to 'correct the record', and said that the comments are 'typical of the person he seems to be.'
Mick Barry said "Yesterday Damien English put up a spirited defence of Eoghan Murphy against my charge that he had fiddled the housing figures. I want to make it clear to him that I have no intention of correcting the record of the house, and in fact April's homeless figures which were released shortly after he made the statement strengthen my argument.
"Junior Minister English claimed that both Minister Murphy and the department are 'trasparent' when it comes to the homeless figures. What they are engaged in is an attempt to redefine homelessness.
"Dublin City Council Assistant Chief Executive Brendan Kenny gave their game away this morning on Morning Ireland. He said that the 252 people who had been removed from the homeless list are still homeless. They are in temporary accommodation and are on the homeless priority list. In the interests of transparency can Damien English explain to me how they are suddenly not homeless?
"He also needs to explain the fluctuations in the homeless figures for Louth County Council. Last month they were at the centre of the storm on March's homeless figures when they said they were directed to reclassify people. The number of homeless people in their records went from 150 in February, down to 54 in March but jumped back up by 130% to 124 in April. Are they simply moving people around like figures on a ledger to satisfy the Minister?
"In reality, the numbers are a side show. The fact is that homelessness is increasing each month, there are thousands of people unaccounted for who are couch surfing or staying with friends and family. The solutions which Minister Murphy and Fine Gael are pursuing have utterly failed."
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