MINISTER for Housing Eoghan Murphy has given hope that the Cuan Mhuire centre on Western Road could finally open if there is better coordination between different state agencies.
The 19-bed step-down facility for homeless people with addiction problems was finished close to a decade ago but has never opened due to funding issues. The centre has said that it would need €300,000 a year in operating costs and could be open within weeks, but state agencies for housing and for healthcare had both claimed the others were responsible.
Speaking on Friday at the opening of the Bishop's Lodge accommodation in Curraheen, which is focused on getting homeless young people into education, Mr Murphy did not comment on the specific centre but said that problems like these could be solved with better coordination.
"We need to coordinate our services to ensure that these types of things aren't happening. We are having this in other parts of the country as well, where people have been promised funding to bring online certain facilities and certain services, aren't then getting that funding quick enough or are looking to draw it down and aren't sure how to do that. That won't happen anymore.
"I'm not going to speak to that individual project until I talk about it in detail with the inter-agency group, but these are not difficult problems to solve. If there is funding there for a project that we know can deliver good in the community, and we know we can do that, we just need to join up things better," he said.
Representatives of the centre recently met with opposition leader Micheál Martin to discuss the future of the centre, and homelessness campaigner Christina Chalmers has taken up their cause.
"It’s incredible that a facility like this has been lying idle so long. If I was in government, a facility like this wouldn’t be lying idle. It’s not just a shelter, it’s a proper environment where people can begin a pathway to recovery,” said Mr Martin.