Confirmation by the cross-border homelessness charity, DePaul, that at least fifteen babies were born to homeless mothers while accessing emergency accommodation in 2018, has been described as a national scandal by the Pro Life Campaign.
Commenting on the issue this afternoon, PLC spokesperson, Eilís Mulroy said that the problem has been a disturbing feature of the broader homelessness crisis for the last number of years:
“The Pro Life Campaign has previously noted that over the course of one month in 2015 the referral list for Anew, a Dublin city centre refuge for homeless pregnant women, stood at 17.
“During that same year the Head of Medical Social Work at the National Maternity Hospital reported a major escalation of such cases presenting to its services.
“We also know from DePaul’s own records that there were 27 pregnant women sleeping in its homeless accommodation units in 2017.
“So while the confirmation today that at least 15 babies were born to mothers in emergency accommodation is particularly shocking, it is not a surprise given the consistent nature of the problem since at least 2015. This is completely unacceptable especially in light of the fact that these numbers only represent those women who present as pregnant while attempting to access services.
“While we acknowledge the efforts being made by the Department of Housing, the Health Service Executive and various voluntary housing organisations, our concerns in this area mirror those around perinatal mental health care in that access to vital services appears to be just as fragmentary and contingent on geographic locations.
“The Pro Life Campaign urgently requests that appropriate levels of support and funding are directed toward the provision of services for these highly vulnerable women and their families”, Ms. Mulroy concluded.