Dozens spend Christmas in Limerick in emergency accommodation

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


Dozens spend Christmas in Limerick in emergency accomodation

Novas says it catered for 30 people on Christmas night

A SENIOR official at a leading homeless charity has expressed “shock” at the number of people who were left homeless in Limerick city over the Christmas period.

According to figures released by Novas, 30 homeless people sought temporary emergency provision (Tep) on Christmas night, which increased by three people on St Stephen’s night.

Because Tep was at full capacity on St Stephen’s night, two homeless people were referred to McGarry House on St Alphonsus Street, a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that 10—or a third—of those seeking emergency accommodation were women.

Novas’ head of services, Anne Cronin said that the usual proportion of homeless women seeking emergency accommodation is 20%.

“That is quite shocking as well because they wouldn’t have been that high all along,” she said. 

“Any people who can’t get into the TEP because of full capacity then go to McGarry House. Last night [Thursday], they had two extra in McGarry House, the same as they did the night before,” she said on Friday. 

Speaking on women’s experience of homelessness, Ms Cronin added: “A lot of the women you would speak to, who are in the Tep and in McGarry and in other hostels, have experienced multiple incidents of domestic violence and abuse on the streets.

“A lot of people in the Tep are estranged from their families; women estranged from their children and fathers are as well. A lot of the women we work with would be estranged from their children and that is a real area of sorrow for them,” Ms Cronin explained. 

According to November homeless figures published by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, there were 385 men and women without a home in Limerick and Clare. This figure is expected to remain stagnant over the Christmas period.

Tep was launched by Limerick City and County Council and Novas in December 2016, in response to the increasing demand for emergency shelter in the city.

Ms Cronin is a local election candidate for the Labour Party in Limerick Ciy North.