He was not saying ‘not in my back yard . . . but our back yard is full’
Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 01:00 Updated: Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 07:18
The next drugs rehabilitation centre or shelter for the homeless should be established on Dublin’s Ailesbury Road, the Seanad has heard.
Independent David Norris criticised the plan by Dublin City Council to take over a hostel on the corner of North Great George’s Street and Parnell Street to house homeless people.
He said the north inner city had had “enough of being ignored and regarded as a dumping ground for every self-help organisation for people with alcohol and drug problems or who are homeless”.
Mr Norris said he was on the side of the “underdog”. He added, however, that he was not saying “not in my backyard. I am serving notice on the authorities – our backyard is full.” He questioned what respect that showed for homeless people that they would be put in “tiered bunks in temporary accommodation”.
Mr Norris, who lives on North Great George’s Street, said: “Let’s see the next drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre or the next homeless centre located in Ailesbury Road” – one of Dublin’s most expensive residential areas.
The Independent Senator said there was “plenty of property” on the exclusive suburban road as a result of the financial collapse “that would be well able to accommodate some of these unfortunate people where they could get the kind of treatment they need in the kind of circumstances they are entitled to”.
Labour’s Aideen Hayden said she accepted Mr Norris’s bona fides on the location of homeless services. “At the same time there are 153 families living in hotels at the moment and the bottom line is that we need homeless accommodation.”
Ms Hayden, chairwoman of Threshold, the national housing charity, said most of these services were located in the inner city “because that is where the people who need them are located”.
The people who needed these services had to have access to them. “Public transport is an issue in that context. There is a bona fide reason for locating these services in the city centre.”
During the Order of Business, Independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout thanked hotels and venues that refused to host the so-called toddlers and tiaras beauty pageants. They had “stood fast in tough economic times against the hosting of such pageants on their premises”.
She thanked “everybody on both sides of the Border, including members of this House, who have been so vocal in their opposition” and for their unanimous opposition to and campaigning against child beauty pageants in Ireland, North and South.