Michelle Gildernew has called on the government to act to end the growing plight of homelessness.
Ms Gildernew took to the cold kerbs of Kildare Street in Dublin on Wednesday night to join a group of activists to take part in a sleep out in solidarity with those who do not have a roof over their heads.
Speaking from Dublin the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said,
“Last night I, along with 40 other activists from across Ireland slept out in temperatures of -2 on the kerbs of Kildare St outside Leinster House. This was an act of solidarity to show those without homes that although the government both North and South seem to be neglecting them, other politicians and members of the community are not.
“The right to shelter is a basic inalienable right. Legislation should promote and safeguard the entitlements of tenants and home buyers rather than the rights of property speculators exploiting people’s essential needs.
“At the end of last year it was revealed that 18,862 people had presented themselves as homeless in the North. Additionally the latest count of Dublin City alone identified 168 individuals as ‘rough sleepers.’ I was disgusted to find out that large corporations and businesses have taken to install ‘spikes’ outside their offices to prevent people taking shelter there and I was equally angered by Belfast City Councils’ decision to remove the emergency sleeping shelter that was in Victoria Street.
“This morning we found out that volunteers providing the homeless with warm drinks served 89 people across the city last night. These 89 individuals are sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and maybe even mothers and fathers. The Government need to put themselves in their shoes and introduce a social policy centred on delivering this basic right sooner rather than later.”