The latest data released by the Department of Housing on homelessness in Ireland require an independent verification by the Central Statistics Office according to Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD.

Figures published today show that there are currently close to 10,000 people homeless in the State including a record high of 3,689 children, however, some 297 people have been removed from the list.

This comes after well-known Architect Mel Reynolds revealed that just half of new builds across the country were actually built by local authorities.

O’Brien said, “We must always be conscious that behind these figures are real families, real people and young children whose lives are deeply affected by the housing crisis.

“We are sadly all too aware that there is a severe housing crisis in this country – one that stretches from the homeless problem to the ongoing challenge of affordability.

“I believe that there are some very serious questions regarding the Department of Housing’s use of statistics. The figures they have published appear to be designed to ease the pressure on the Government by trying to avoid acknowledging any breach of a 10,000 homeless mark.

“Furthermore, they insinuate that local authorities built a great deal more homes than was factually the case.

Public policy decisions tend to be based on the best quality and most recent data available and that the Government have an obligation to ensure their reliability.

“With that in mind, an independent assessment of these numbers is the only means of determining their true accuracy. The Government should consider utilising the CSO or including statistical verification as part of a new Housing Delivery Agency to confirm the precision of published figures.

“So long as this current situation continues to worsen, anecdotally or otherwise, people will have serious doubts about the validity of the figures. It’s time to quit the spin and get building,” Deputy O’Brien concluded.