The first of 165 extra emergency beds for rough sleepers in Dublin will be opened this evening as part of a €4m initiative by the city council.

There will be 70 beds for men and women at a converted cinema on Ellis Quay to be run by the Fr Peter McVerry Trust and another 75 in a converted warehouse on Little Britain St for couples and high dependency cases.

The Civil Defence will operate another 20-bed facility on Wolfe Tone Quay. All are in the Dublin 7 area of the northwest inner city.

Work is still going on in the buildings and the beds will be opened on a phased basis over the next week.

Chief Executive of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive Eileen Gleeson said that homeless facilities are being concentrated in the city centre because most of Dublin's 142 rough sleepers are currently there.

But she said a "realignment of services" is needed so that people are housed in their own areas.

The conversion of a community centre at Carman's Hall in the south city to provide another 65 beds has been delayed following a High Court action by local residents.

A local residents group has formed The Carman's Hall Community Interest Group to campaign for the reopening of the community centre which was closed two years ago.

They said it is the only community centre in an area containing 75,000 people.

Residents also said that the area already has the highest concentration of homeless and drug treatment services in the city with nearly 600 homeless and supported-living beds within a 500-metre radius of the former community centre.

Their High Court action is due to be heard in January.

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