The latest count of rough sleepers has found 139 people on the streets in Dublin.

However, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) says this count was carried out over the course of a week and is not comparable with last year's winter count, which found 92 people sleeping rough.

In a statement, the DRHE said that because of Covid-19 it was not possible to carry out a single night's count with 150 volunteers across Co Dublin and a seven-day assessment was carried out instead.

The DRHE said 20% of the rough sleepers involved had an emergency bed allocated to them on at least one of the nights that they were sleeping out.

A total of 89% of them had been in emergency accommodation within the past week, while one was in long-term supported accommodation and another in HAP accommodation.

A further five have since been placed in permanent Housing First accommodation.

The count found that most rough sleepers are male, Irish and aged between 25 and 44.

The DRHE has said it was considering moving to a seven-day count in future as the numbers sleeping out vary from night to night.

It said: "While there is a core group of people who may regularly sleep rough, and may or may not engage with services, there is a larger group of people that may move between rough sleeping, using emergency accommodation on a more regular basis, sleeping in insecure accommodation, and or staying with family or friends.

"Others may only engage in rough sleeping for a very short transitional period."

It said it found 45 people on the streets in the core city centre area on a one-night count on 25 November.

Bob Jordan of Housing First said this figure along with the fact that there was an average of 40 empty beds in emergency accommodation on each night of the assessment suggested an overall reduction on previous counts.

However, Louisa Santoro of the Mendicity Institute said she was "baffled" at the suggestion that rough sleeper numbers are down.

She said the DRHE's own figures would suggest they were up.