More than 9,000 adults and children are living in emergency accommodation, according to homeless figures published this afternoon.

The Dáil has heard that "3,267 children tonight will sleep in emergency accommodation".

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin asked what the Government is going to do on foot of the figures to tackle the homelessness crisis and in particular the child homelessness crisis.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he could not answer the question as the figures have just been published.

Mr Varadkar said: "I am told that they see an increase and the level of family homelessness, notwithstanding the increase, is still not as high as it was in November."

Latest figures show there were 1,517 families across the country without a home last month, up from 1,408 in December of last year.

The number of children homeless and living in hotels and family hubs is now 3,267, up from 3,079 in December of last year.

29 homeless families have been in emergency hotel accommodation for more than two years, the Minister for Housing has told the Dáil.

Minister Eoghan Murphy the extent of the increase in families in emergency accommodation witnessed in January was "not anticipated and I have asked the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive to investigate the reasons for this and come back to me with a report."

He was responding to questions from Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan during Minister's Questions this evening.

Ms O'Sullivan said one of the most important targets in Rebuilding Ireland that was not reached was to take families out of hotels, except in very extreme circumstances, by July 2016.

She asked how many are in hotels and how many have been there for more than three months.

Mr Murphy said "the report for January shows that a total of 1,517 families were using emergency accommodation. Of these 700 homeless families were recorded as staying in hotels and B&B accommodation in the Dublin region. 45% of these families had been resident in such accommodation for less than six months."

He said the Government is committed to addressing the use of hotels for emergency accommodation. He said the delivery of family hubs has been an important response and there are now almost 500 units of family accommodation in these hubs.

Ms O'Sullivan also said she has received a press release from the INMO who say that babies in hotels are not reaching their developmental goals and this is "really alarming."

Further reporting by Conor Hunt