Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said he "accepts" that the State was failing a homeless family living in hotel accommodation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said that it is "totally unacceptable" for families to be living in hotels, after an interview with an 18-year-old named Amanda was aired.

"I accept that the State is currently failing Amanda," said Mr Coveney.

Amanda, who has been living with her family in a hotel for over a year, said that she felt she would not be able to do her Leaving Certificate if she did not get a home.

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She is repeating fifth year and worries that she will not get to go to university as a result of her living situation.

The mental health of the entire family was "deteriorating", she said.

Mr Coveney said: "It's heartbreaking to listen to Amanda talk about the stresses and strains that clearly come with living out of a hotel room with her family, trying to go to school every day.

"That is not acceptable in Ireland today, and we are going to change it.

"I was the minister that made it very clear that it is totally unacceptable for families and that we are going to end that.

"Between July and August this year, 80 families have been taken out of hotels and are now in their own homes."


Read more:
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'Your voice is gone' - student speaks of being homeless


The minister said that last year the Government spent around €60m building family hubs that are "far more suitable" as temporary accommodation for homeless families.

He said they managed to move "many" families from unsuitable accommodation into this "much more suitable, much more spacious" facilities.

Asked whether the plan was failing, the Tánaiste said: "The plan is actually working, it's not working fast enough.

"There are many new families coming into homelessness all the time, that's the problem. We have taken more families out of homelessness in the last year than at any time previously, and that continues to accelerate.

"I am very conscious of the responsibility that we as a Government have to Amanda and to many other adults and children that are in hotels. Housing is the number one priority for Government right now."

"We will do whatever is necessary in terms of funding and policy change to get Amanda out of that totally unsuitable accommodation as soon as possible."

Elsewhere, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy acknowledged that "too many families are living in insecure situations", but said the Government was "putting in a huge amount of work to help as many families" as it could.

He said that, in 2017, 2,000 families left hotels, the majority into homes.

"A lot of work is being done but we have to do more because there will be families sleeping in hotels tonight and that is unacceptable," he said.

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Mr Murphy said "of course" two years was too long to be living in a hotel, and said that was why the Government had developed the hub programme with more than 500 places.

He said the average a family will spend in that type of emergency accommodation is less than six months.

In relation to the upcoming Budget, the minister said: "It's not the case that if you simply double capital investment on housing you would see twice as many homes built next year or see them delivered in half the time."

He said capital spending on housing will increase next year and there will be an increase in social housing stock.