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No plans for homeless ‘wet facility’ in Drogheda, say local authority

Joanna Byrne
Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne.

Louth County Council say they have no current plans to provide a ‘wet house’ facility for homeless persons battling alcohol or drug related addictions, despite pleas to do so by Sinn Féin councillor Joanna Byrne.

Speaking at Monday evening’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting in Barlow House, Cllr Byrne revealed that earlier that two she had received two separate representations from homeless persons who had been removed from Drogheda Homeless Aid shelter due to ongoing alcohol issues.

“I’ve had two homeless people present to me today. They were put out of the Drogheda Homeless Aid for having an over reliance on alcohol and breaking the rules,” Cllr Byrne explained. “It’s not that they don’t respect the rules down there. It’s an addiction, one of the them has been on the streets for five nights with nowhere to go.

“I’m reiterating my calls for another facility in the town. I don’t like to use the term ‘wet facility’ but it’s badly needed and long overdue,” she said.

In response to whether or not a wet house was in the pipeline, Director of Services Paddy Donnelly said there were immediate plans as the local authority did not feel there were sufficient numbers to warrant such a service.

“We are keen not to be continually lowering the bar in relation to facilities made available for homeless persons. We need to work with these clients to ensure that they understand they have a responsibility as well as we and the service provider have a responsibility to ensure there is somewhere that can provide a safe and secure place for someone who does find themselves in a homeless situation.”

Donnelly said that Louth County Council were “not convinced” there were enough persons in need of such a facility, stating that the majority of homeless persons understand the requirement to abstain from alcohol and drugs when staying in shelter accommodation.

“We’re engaging with the service providers as to how high the bar is set,” he said. “We are, particularly at this time of year, a bit more lenient in terms of what we expect. With the inclement weather, we don’t want to see people homeless.”

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