independent

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Codd shocked by conditions faced by rough sleepers

Some of the tents erected by rough sleepers at Ferrybank
Some of the tents erected by rough sleepers at Ferrybank

Pádraig Byrne

Every evening in the vicinity of Wexford Bridge, people are bedding down and sleeping rough, be it in a tent or taking shelter in the nooks and crannies underneath the bridge itself.

While Wexford County Council say that they are doing all that they can to provide emergency accommodation for those who have found themselves homeless, it would appear that not everyone has a roof over their head at the end of each day.

Last year, the council spent over €850,000 on emergency accommodation for people across the county in a bid to stem the flow of a problem that seems to be increasing at a frightening level.

Aontú candidate for the Rosslare District and teacher at Bridgetown Vocational College Jim Codd recently took time to visit some of those that are living rough out near the bridge and was shocked to see a former pupil of his among them.

'It was even worse than I expected when I got out there,' he said. 'From a shanty town of tents overlooking the town to damp caverns lined with old sleeping bags underneath the bridge.'

In relation to the former pupil, Mr Codd says it was an all too familiar tale.

'Himself and his girlfriend were renting a small house and they were told that the landlord was selling up,' he said. 'There was no rent arrears or anything like that, but they just had nowhere to go. I myself went into Ozanam House (men's shelter) for him and was told that there's currently a waiting list and the council had nothing for him either.'

Mr Codd expressed major concerns as to the conditions in which people are living in at the far side of the bridge.

'They have this place under the bridge that's lined with sleeping bags,' he said. 'They can only get in when the tide is out and when the tide is high, they can get caught down there. I'd be worried that someone could drown.'

The Aontú candidate says that not enough action is being taken on what is a very real crisis.

'I'm told they could fill Ozanam House two times over,' he said.

'There are currently 120 people homeless in Wexford. If we need to build another shelter, then lets get it done. We have buildings like the old Hospital, the Loreto and the old Garda Station just sitting there.'

'It seems like it's just a lot of lip-service being paid to this problem. I'm not sure it's being taken as seriously as it needs to be taken.'

Wexford People

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