‘We need to have a serious conversation’: Dublin city centre’s ‘ghetto-like’ city centre is ‘in need of cleaning’
Dublin has been dubbed “the ghetto of the south” for its gritty and congested streets, with more than 2,000 people per square metre living in “the ghettos” of its city centre.
The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI study of urban living in Ireland found that Dublin has one of the worst life satisfaction rates in Europe.
This is particularly concerning given that the city’s population is set to hit 6.5 million by 2026, and that it has a high concentration of young people and those living in temporary accommodation.
In the city centre, the Irish Times reported that the number of residents with a job and household income was almost twice the national average.
This makes Dublin one of Europe’s most segregated cities, with almost one in five households having no job and one in six households living on zero or less income.
However, the city has made significant strides to alleviate the housing crisis in recent years, with some of its largest social housing developments now being demolished.
The City of Dublin, the country’s largest public housing authority, is now building new, mixed-use buildings in the area around Dublin’s main shopping precinct.
However the problems with homelessness in Dublin have been compounded by a rise in the number and severity of people in temporary or short-term accommodation, particularly on social housing.
As the Irish economy recovers, the City of Ireland has pledged to build an additional 800,000 homes by 2025.
But while some residents say the city needs to be “rebuilt”, the Irish Examiner reported that some Irish cities, including Dublin, have seen a rise of 20 per cent in the population of homeless people.
In December, the US National Coalition for Homelessness said Dublin was in the midst of the most extreme homelessness in the country.
According to the coalition, over 1,400 homeless people have been placed in emergency accommodation since the start of 2017.
This included 2,788 people in shelters.
In Dublin, homeless people were also finding shelter at private homes.
In March, the Dublin City Council released an initiative to help homeless people find safe, secure and affordable accommodation.
A total of 1,854 homeless people in Dublin were moved into safe temporary accommodation by the end of February, according to the council.
“People living in the city need to be able to get on with their lives and not have to worry about being homeless again,” said Dublin City Councillor, Stephen O’Leary, during the announcement of the initiative.
“We need this kind of support now more than ever.”
In March the Irish Independent reported that a group of homeless women in the capital were moving into a flat at a residential address in the former Catholic cemetery.
However some Dubliners are concerned about the city planning process, with homelessness rising from a total of 5,200 people in 2020 to 6,000 in 2021.
In a bid to tackle the problem, the council has introduced a range of measures including allowing people to live in their own flat, and offering a cash incentive to those who do.
However many people are unhappy about the lack of clarity around the plans, as well as the fact that there is currently no “housing plan” for homeless people, but a “housing-first” plan which will not allow them to move into temporary accommodation, the report said.
The report highlighted that homelessness is increasing in Dublin, with the city now having one in every five people living in shelter, compared to just one in eight people in the previous year.
Dublin City Mayor, Richard Bruton, said in March that the Dublin council has created a “safe place” to live, and was working to “remove the barriers that people feel that they have to be homeless”.
In an interview with the Irish Post, he said: “We’ve taken a number of steps over the last few years to remove the barriers to being homeless.
We’ve reduced the number to one in three people, and we have increased our funding for homeless services.”
However, some residents are concerned that the plan is “too vague” and will create an “unstable environment”.
“I don’t think it’s the right time to put money into this scheme,” said resident John Ryan.
“It’s not going to be an affordable solution, and it’s not a solution that works for Dublin.”
It is clear that this is an issue that needs addressing, and the city council needs to put some time into it.
“According to Mr Bruton’s comments, there has been “a huge increase” in the homelessness rate in Dublin in recent months.
In February, a report by the charity Shelter found that the rate of homelessness in Ireland had increased by a staggering 19 per cent over the past five years, to more than 11,000 homeless people across the country, and “an alarming increase” from around 10,000.
While Dublin City’s Mayor has pledged that he will continue to support the city, he has also acknowledged that the “