Zappone: “‘In the shadow of Leinster House’ over 160 others in Dublin city are sleeping rough”


Senator Zappone spoke in support of an urgent debate on homelessness in Ireland in the Seanad on Tuesday, Dec 2nd. The debate will take place on Wed December 3rd.

Below Senator Zappone's speech in full.

As the news story of the 43-year-old man who died in a doorstep during the Dublin winter of 2014 was told by reporters, the words "in the shadow of Leinster House" were repeated continuously. In the shadow of Leinster House, as already has been mentioned, more than 160 others in Dublin city are sleeping rough, which is a rise of 20% on the same period last year.

Each Member could cite statistics from his or her own community, as already has happened, and, for example, 173 people are homeless in the South Dublin County Council area. Consequently, I support an urgent debate on homelessness in Ireland and I thank Senator Craughwell for putting forward that proposal. Something must be done that is not being done now and either the Government analyses of these problems are wrong or incomplete or the political ideologies that direct its solutions are insipid, vacuous of original vision or simply outdated. However, in order that such a debate could be as fruitful as possible and inclusive of thoughtful analysis and imaginative recommendations on what can be done differently, at least a day or more than 24 hours would not go astray to help Members to prepare their remarks.

I support the Leader in this regard and thank him for inviting the Minister, Deputy Kelly, to appear in the House tomorrow afternoon or later in the evening. However, this is also the Dublin winter in which there is deep agitation in the air. This has resulted in intimidating and menacing behaviour in some of our citizens and residents, as well as civil unrest and many of us are wondering why is this and what is happening.

I believe it has much to do with the increasing and unattended to gap between those with enough and those with little or nothing. Several months ago, a man named Thomas Piketty gave a lecture to more than 700 people in Dublin on his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and one of his primary messages is that inequality of wealth and income is not good for any society. He is not the first with this message and it is not good for any society but is the seedbed of political, social and economic instability and, therefore, solutions that are multifaceted and based on transparent and collective reasoning must be found.

To conclude, recent pronouncements in the pre-general election mud slings regarding the left-right divide and the tax-and-spend versus the less-tax and-more-spend approach are not worthy of the citizens. They deserve more from Members, especially those who will not have a place to sleep indoors this evening.

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