THE Lord Mayor of Cork has called for immediate action to address the number of homeless primary school pupils in the city and county.
Lord Mayor Mick Finn was responding to the Evening Echo’s front-page story yesterday which revealed that almost one-quarter of primary schools in Cork have pupils who are homeless.
He revealed that the figures in the article reflect conversations he has had with Cork primary school principals in recent months.
The Lord Mayor visits all primary schools in the city during his term of office.
Citing the Evening Echo’s article, he wrote to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, as well as the heads of Cork Institute of Technology, and University College Cork, requesting input on the issue.
He also highlighted the issue with Cork City Council’s director of housing, Brian Geaney, and John Fitzgibbon of the Cork Education and Training Board.
He described the figures from the Irish Primary Principals Network as “frightening”.
Twenty-three percent of primary schools in Cork have at least one homeless pupil, while 16% have at least one student in direct provision, the IPPN survey revealed.
The survey found that there are at least 99 pupils in Cork primary schools are homeless or in direct provision.
“One-quarter of primary schools in Cork have students without homes: this is frightening,” said the Lord Mayor.
“While Cork ETB and elements of the HSE have moved to provide extra outreach services to those families, the kernel of this has to be addressed.
“The housing crisis is just that, and will have huge implications for all levels of education in society,” he added.
“It will also require substantial health and social funding in a decade or so after which severe psychological damage has been done.”
The Lord Mayor said that an incentivised building programme, similar to those resulting in the student specific builds, is required.
“Third-level institutes, the Council, and Government have expertise and responsibilities in this area,” he explained.
“Immediate actions are required.”