An emergency service for vulnerable women and children in Cork, which has undergone a €7.5m redevelopment, was officially opened by the Taoiseach today, who described the service as "vital".

Edel House, which is run by Good Shepherd Cork, provides emergency accommodation for up to 13 families and 20 single women who are homeless.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said today is a significant milestone in the 50-year history of Edel House.

The redevelopment of the facility, he said, represented a €7.5m investment by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in vital modern facilities for the "most vulnerable in the city".

"I want to applaud the collaboration over the past few years between Good Shepherd and the statutory agencies, the City Council, and other bodies in the sector to seek to broaden and deepen the services that are provided to the most vulnerable in the city," he said.

CEO Allison Aldred said the opening of new and upgraded facilities in the current homelessness crisis is fitting as the emergency service marks its 50th anniversary.

"We are extremely grateful to our funders for the resources to expand the scale and scope of our services and to our dedicated staff for their commitment to our work.

"We are also hugely respectful of the courage and determination of the many women and children who have stayed in Edel House over the past 50 years, and those living with us today, as they move on from the traumas of homelessness."

Founded in 1973, Edel House is one of a number of services operated by Good Shepherd Cork working with women, children and families who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.

Others include Riverview Residential Care for teenage girls on the North Mall, the 70 bed Redclyffe Family Hub, located on Western Road, and Good Shepherd Cork's Support & Advocacy Services based at Henry Street in the city.