National News In Brief

Number of homeless 18-24 year olds increased by 110% since 2014

The annual Focus Ireland conference has heard that the figures of 18-24 year olds is now 910, a 110% increase from 435 since August of 2014. This age bracket is also six times more likely to be discriminated against by private landlords.

Focus Ireland described young people as being “at the brunt” of homelessness and housing crisis. The charity’s CEO Pat Dennigan said: "Young adults are most likely to bunk-in with friends and extended family to keep a roof over their heads.” “People in these situations are part of the ‘hidden homeless’ and are not included in the Government’s official homelessness figures.”

"The fact is there is a lot more that needs to be done and we really need to have a Youth Homeless Strategy in place,” he added.

Speaking about the conference, youth homelessness is “mainly related to poverty and family difficulties” according to Dr. Paula Maycock from Trinity College Dublin. She said: “We need prevention. We need a new homelessness prevention strategy that directly addresses the needs of youth and their situations because the reasons they become homeless are different.”

Focus Ireland has also called for a strategy in which tenants are given “greater security” so they won’t lose their homes as well as making sure that homeless services are LGBT+ friendly.

Brexit Deal could potentially lead to loyalist violence according to PSNI chief

The head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has warned that a Brexit deal perceived to be a threat to the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland could cause civil unrest by loyalists.

Depending on the result of Brexit over the next few weeks, there is a possibility that loyalists may “bring violence back on the streets”, according to Simon Byrne, head of the PSNI.

Speaking to BBC2’s Newsnight, he said: “You can anticipate a lot of emotion in loyalist communities and the potential for civil disorder . . . Similarly if things go a different way, you can see a rising of emotion in the nationalist community a similar threat,"

“There are a small number of people in both the loyalist and nationalist communities that are motivated by their own ideology and that have the potential to bring violence back on to the streets,”

He also said that: "It's well rehearsed that any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will be seen as a return to state institutions by the nationalist community and it will raise the threat of attack towards infrastructure.”

He believes that they have to be prepared to be in a “position to thwart that sort of behaviour with the support of the communities and all parts of Northern Ireland."

Report on voting scandal recommends no sanctions against TDs

A report by Dáil clerk Peter Finnegan has probed into the events surrounding Fianna Fáil TDs, Niall Collins, Timmy Dooley and Lisa Chambers. It was revealed that Mr. Collins had voted for Mr. Dooley six times in his absence. While Lisa Chambers had also inadvertently voted for her colleague Dara Calleary while he was on a radio show. Mr. Collins admits later that he pressed Mr. Dooley’s button thinking that he was still present.

However, the report makes no findings against Mr. Collins, Mr. Dooley and Ms. Chambers and recommends no sanctions on them. However, it does recommend that TDs should no longer be allowed to vote on behalf of another colleague. It also stated that there is also a “general acceptance” of voting for colleagues who are also in the chamber. The report has described this as “not good practice and must be discontinued.”

The report asserts that all TDs should be present before voting can start and must vote in their designated seats. Chair tellers and party whips are responsible for verifying votes and correcting any errors. The report has recommended that a “wider review of the voting system should be undertaken to provide such assurance”.