Health Board struggles to cope with the numbers of homeless young people seeking emergency accommodation.
The Irish Times newspaper published statistics compiled from the out of hours services of the Eastern Health Board which show that the service is not coping with the rising number of young people requesting health board accommodation.
In 1996, there were 3,127 referrals to the out of hours services which was double the number of referrals in 1995. According to The Irish Times, the number of requests increased by a further one fifth in the first six months of 1997.
In some cases applications have had to be made to the High Court to secure promises of a bed from the Eastern Health Board.
Fr Peter McVerry says that the demand for places is not being met. Many of the older boys left on the streets as a result of the neglect by the Eastern Health Board have been sexually abused. Peter McVerry says that the average number of young people looking for a bed for the night is 14. However, there are only seven beds available. On one particular weekend, there were 34 children looking for those seven places.
The Health Board responded to The Irish Times report by saying that it is spending £30 million a year on childcare services. The Health Board also announced that it was doubling the number of emergency beds available to children in crisis.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 August 1997. The reporter is Joe Little.