Here’s the quote from the Taoiseach that Peter McVerry angrily takes issue with.
“There are 90,000 people on the housing list but very many, if not most, have houses and apartments. However, these are houses and apartments that are being provided to them through rent supplement or the private rental sector and they want different houses or apartments that are more appropriate to their needs. It is important to recall that, of those 90,000 on the housing list, the majority are in houses or apartments, just not the permanent homes they would like to have and which we would like them to have.” The Taoiseach, Leader’s Questions, July 12th 2017.
So, according to the Taoiseach, the homeless have houses and apartments, but they are simply being fussy and want better ones. And since he is the Taoiseach, and leader of the free world as we understand it here in this soggy corner of Europe, the Homeless Crisis has now been officially downgraded to the much more manageable Fussiness Crisis. A crisis where taste is not, unfortunately, being matched by reality. Something a good bucket of paint and a joss-stick might solve. A problem that a simple shift in mental attitude might dispel.
Fr Peter McVerry’s article produces enough hard evidence and figures to show, just in case anyone was in any doubt, that we really do have a homeless crisis and not just a “Fussiness Crisis” as the Taoiseach appears to be suggesting.
The article includes a graphic incorporating figures from the central statistics office that clearly show there are 6,906 homeless people in Ireland, 73% of them in Dublin. According to the Taoiseach, and this now exists in the Dail records, “very many of these, if not most, have houses and apartments.”
Where I come from, this is called a bare-faced lie. But I come from a relatively humble working-class background and I’m maybe not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between a bare-faced lie and some complex housing/social policy thingy that someone like me might not be fully capable of grasping.