Independent councillor Alan Lawes has claimed a homeless man, who is currently sleeping in his car between Navan and Drogheda, has been ‘kicked from Billy to Jack’ by two county councils.
Lawes, who posted the video of the man in his car in sleeting snow on his Facebook page, told Meath Live. ‘The man is from Laois originally but when his marriage broke up he moved to Meath and got work.
‘Due to the pandemic that work dried up and he became homeless but when he approached Meath County Council about Emergency Accommodation he was told that as he had no local connections he should move back to Laois.
‘When he did that he went to Laois County Council seeking similar help and was told that as he had become homeless in Meath that is where he should look for assistance so he arrived back here and has been sleeping in his car ever since.
‘I actually wrote to the housing minister Darragh O’Brien and in his reply he restated what he said in 2020 that councils should not use this local connections rule.
‘Both councils are in dispute over this man’s local connection a rule used by most Councils around the country to avoid their responsibility to provide emergency accommodation to the most vulnerable the homeless.
‘This rule must go and The Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD promised the homeless that it would saying that local connection would no longer be an obstacle in gaining emergency accommodation.
‘It looks like the Minister was just looking for a bit of publicity so it was an easy one to lie to the most vulnerable the homeless sure they don’t vote anyway.
‘All councillors around the country know of this rule my 39 fellow councillors in Meath know about this rule. All our local TD’s know about this rule so I am asking for all of you to help get rid of this cruel and inhumane rule that’s being used by councils heartlessly to lock men women and children out of emergency accommodation
‘You will remember when the same rule was used by Meath County Council last year to lock a family with two children one a boy of 15 with special needs and his 11 year old sister out of emergency accommodation.
‘This can no longer continue and this rule has to be abolished and I am appealing to all councillors all TD’s particularly our local ones and especially the Minister for Housing to get rid of this rule immediately.
‘I am asking the public to put pressure on your local TD’s and your local councillors and ask them to get rid of this inhumane rule that is locking vulnerable homeless men women and children out of emergency accommodation. ‘