Fianna Fáil Social Protection Spokesperson Barry Cowen has written to the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to ask for support from her Department for the residents of Priory Hall as a matter of urgency.
Deputy Cowen said: “This is an extremely stressful and upsetting time for the residents of Priory Hall who are completely blameless in this whole situation. Not only have their lives been uprooted and thrown into complete disarray, these families and individuals are being forced to pay the extra costs associated with living in temporary hotel accommodation.
“There is a role to be played by the Department of Social Protection here in providing financial assistance to these families to help them cope with the extra travel, food and utility costs. While the Community Welfare Service generally only assists people dependent on weekly social welfare payments, there is a precedent for working families to be supported in times of emergency. In similar emergency situations like the flooding in Galway and Cork, the Department granted emergency payments to people who were forced from their homes. The usual requirement for means-testing was set aside to ensure that all families would be supported in meeting their day-to-day needs while their homes are inhabitable.
“Just like the flooding victims in Galway and Cork, the residents of Priory Hall have been forced from their homes through no fault of their own. Similar arrangements should also be made for them to provide them with some support from the State. I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to examine this as a matter of urgency.”