Six education trade unions have issued a joint statement accusing the Government of a failed housing policy that now risks the effective delivery of education services.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, Fórsa, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, the Irish Federation of University Teachers, SIPTU and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland represent about 110,000 members working in schools, colleges, and education centres across the country.

"This year we have seen schools and colleges struggle to recruit and retain critical staff, citing severe difficulties in relation to the availability and affordability of accommodation," the unions said in their joint statement.

"The effective delivery of education is now fundamentally at risk if we don’t take steps to tackle the chronic housing challenges we are facing."

"Homelessness is becoming a far too familiar feature of the Irish education landscape. Schools and colleges have become places of sanctuary for pupils who find themselves in such circumstances, but we need to acknowledge how disruptive and challenging this is for vulnerable pupils and their families," the unions said.

The joint statement was issued ahead of the "Raise the Roof" housing rally which will be held in Dublin on Saturday.

Speaking yesterday at the launch of the Shanganagh Castle public housing project in Shankill in Dublin, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government is on target and "likely to exceed the target in Housing for All" for 2022, but that given supply chain disruption earlier this year due to the war in Ukraine, there was a need to double down to increase that again for 2023.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said his department had €4 billion to deliver housing this year and that €4.5 billion will be allocated for next year.

Sinn Féin's Spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has said the declaration of a housing emergency will mean that it is a statement of intent, and which if the Government was serious about tackling this crisis, would follow it up with emergency measures such as ban on rent increases.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said it is about putting pressure on the Government, encouraging people to rally, but it has to be followed up by urgent actions.

Mr Ó Broin said that tackling the housing crisis is not just about overall supply, it is about the right type of supply.

"We have a growing number of adults and children in emergency accommodation every single night, almost 11,000 at this stage. So, what we need is not just overall supply, but we need very, very large volumes of Government delivered social and affordable homes on a scale we have never seen before and this Government so far has been unwilling to commit to.

"We also have to ensure that during the temporary ban on evictions the Government increases and accelerates the delivery of genuinely affordable homes to rent or buy.

"We are going to see a continued loss of single property landlords from the market because house prices are so high that has been the trend since 2017.

"What Government needs to do is protect renters, but also increase the supply of good quality, affordable rental accommodation into the future. And without that, this crisis is going to continue."