Homeless executive says all complaints were resolved

Wednesday 20 January 2016 22.24
Children's Ombudsman said social housing and emergency accommodation needs to be brought to a standard where children are as safe as possible
Children's Ombudsman said social housing and emergency accommodation needs to be brought to a standard where children are as safe as possible

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has said that all complaints made in 2015 relating to homeless services were fully investigated and resolved in a timely manner.

Information released to RTÉ News earlier this week showed that health and safety, anti-social behaviour and child welfare were among the issues raised by some of the almost 800 families living in temporary accommodation last year.

In a statement, the DRHE said that all 123 of the complaints received were addressed.

Meanwhile, the Children’s Ombudsman has said living in hotels and B&Bs is disruptive for children and is not conducive for family life.

Niall Muldoon said the best interests of the child have to be considered and any situation where a child is made to feel second-class is wrong.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Muldoon said social housing and emergency accommodation needs to be brought to a standard where children are as safe as possible.

Mr Muldoon was speaking in the wake of an RTÉ programme which showed footage of children living in cramped hotel rooms.

Tackling this issue needs to become a priority of the incoming government, he added.

Mr Muldoon also said children in direct provision should be able to complain to his office.

He said it is ludicrous a situation whereby a child in direct provision in Ireland can complain to a UN committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva but cannot make a complaint to him in Dublin.

All children in Ireland have to be treated equally, he added.

Mr Muldoon said he is engaging with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on the issue.

Concerns over access to education

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has also expressed concern about the impact of the housing crisis on children and families.

Its Chief Operations Officer Fred McBride said the agency is working with relevant services in order to maximise the supports available to families.

"As parents remain their children's primary carer, our role is to support them in the same way that it supports any family where child welfare issues are identified (and) to provide family support and to assess any child protection concern that arise," he said. 

Tusla also said it was critical children are supported in education while their family undergoes homelessness.