It emerged this month that the Dublin Region Homeless Executive’s Mental Health Team, based on Parkgate Street, Dublin 8 have been forced to close referrals to their services due to staff shortages.

Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has submitted the matter to the Ceann Comhairle seeking a debate in Dáil Éireann this week.

He said, “This community based mental health access team liaises with homeless agencies in the city to provide suitable care to some of those engaging with homeless services who have become very unwell.

“The absence of this specialist service is a desperate situation. These people are already marginalised and now they are being denied suitable medical care.

“The emotional strain of becoming displaced and homeless exposes people to the risk of developing a mental illness. In 2014, Dublin Simon Community reported that 71% of those engaging with their services had a mental health difficulty.

“Directing homeless people to Emergency Department’s for mental health care is not a solution given they are often turned away because they don’t have an address. This sad fact is also at odds to the Government’s own commitment that no one should be discharged from a hospital into homelessness.

“I am urging the Minister to guarantee that the HSE will put in place resources to re-open referrals and improve access to these services, before it’s too late for some.”