A Dickensian Government
The Irish government is showing “a Dickensian attitude” to homelessness, charges Peter McVerry SJ in this interview with Pat Coyle. He says they are blaming homeless people themselves for their situation, just as the Victorians blamed the poor for being poor. “The reality,” he adds, “is that homelessness is primarily caused by a failure of government policy rather than by any moral or other defect in the homeless persons.”
Fr McVerry says he had grave reservations all along about this current government’s attitude to homelessness, but with an increases use in language that normalises homelessness and suggest it is down to the individual, he has “even less confidence that this government is going to address the problem of homelessness in any serious way”. He accuses them, particularly An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, of “downplaying the crisis of homelessness by comparing it inaccurately with other countries”. The report that Mr Varadkar has used for these comparisons even states explicitly that it cannot be used for inter-country comparisons as different countries count homeless people in different ways.
Pat began by asking him about his initial reaction to hearing this language from the governement.