The chief executive of a charity which works with homeless people, many with addiction problems, has said it appears to have been accepted that people dying on the streets due to drug addiction or homelessness is okay.

Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) says that "unprecedented levels of homelessness" is resulting in a worsening of the drug crisis.

In its annual review of 2016, MQI says thousands of vulnerable people are facing daily struggles to stay drug free because they have nowhere to live.

CEO Tony Geoghegan said: "The impact of the current unprecedented level of homelessness is most acutely felt at street level, where active drug users are being left behind as the Government scrambles to address the urgent needs of families.

"While we respect the need to prioritise families, and in particular children, we must not lose sight of the urgent needs of thousands of vulnerable single men and women, and in particular those with more complex needs, who are being pushed further down the housing queue."

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Geoghegan said it is difficult enough for people caught in drug addiction to recover, but not knowing where you are going to sleep each night makes it impossible.

Last year, 6,539 people used Merchants Quay Ireland's homeless services.

The organisation also provided 117,398 meals for Ireland's homeless and hungry - an increase of almost 19% compared with 2015.

Its 'Night Cafe', which opened in 2015 as a temporary emergency measure, continues to cater for up to 70 people every night.

Almost 10,000 people nationwide with needs, spanning addiction, mental health and homelessness came to MQI for help last year.

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