Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Accommodation for Ex-Servicemen.

14.

asked the Minister for Defence if he has any plans to provide suitable accommodation for former members of the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen who may be homeless; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

21.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will consider allocating any of the Defence Forces premises which it is planned to sell off for use as a hostel for ex-servicemen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

137.

asked the Minister for Defence if he has any plans to accommodate members of ONE with a meeting and recreation room at Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick.

(Limerick West): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14, 21 and 137 together.

A deputation from the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women discussed with me recently a number of matters, including the question of establishing a home for ex-servicemen. I understand from the organisation that Dublin Corporation have arranged for the housing of a number of ex-soldiers. Former members of the Permanent Defence Force are, of course, entitled to the same consideration in relation to facilities provided by the statutory agencies as any other members of the community at large.

I informed the deputation that certain proposals they made would be examined.

The Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women have held meetings in Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick, regularly for a number of years. This facility is still available to the organisation. In addition, I made available to the organisation a room in Collins Barracks as their headquarters.

A Cheann Comhairle——

Is Deputy Clohessy offering? I must call the Deputy. He has a question tabled and he is present in the House.

Is there any provision in the provinces for those unfortunate people who are homeless members of ONE?

(Limerick West): I did not get the Deputy's question.

The Minister said in Dublin city there is provision for these homeless people. Is there any provision in the provinces?

(Limerick West): Yes. The whole problem of setting up a home for ex-service men and women is bringing people from the different areas, Galway, Dublin and Cork. They have no intention of leaving those places. Arrangements are made locally with local authorities in situations as outlined by the Deputy. In addition, the Army's social welfare officer deals with these problems on a continuous basis, and I assure the Deputy nobody will be left homeless. If he has any information with regard to anybody who is homeless he might kindly let me have it.

In places like Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick and the military installation in Galway there should be a small portion or section for unfortunate people who find themselves homeless. I have spoken to ONE and they are all of the opinion that some little section of the barracks in their locality should be sectioned off to provide for them and look after them in their old age. In my area no provision is made by the local authority for homeless ex-service men.

(Limerick West): What the Deputy is saying is laudable and I accept it. If he can give me names of personnel who are homeless I assure him I will deal with them and provide the necessary accommodation.

I have been informed that there are a fair number of such personnel around the Dublin scene who have not been accommodated. Maybe the Minister would outline to the House how many are being looked after at the moment in accommodation and how many are on a waiting list hoping something will be done for them through the Department of Defence.

(Limerick West): Again, if the Deputy has information with regard to any personnel who are homeless——

How many are in accommodation?

(Limerick West): ——perhaps he will let me have the information. We want to deal in facts. That is all I can do and if the Deputy gives me the information I will deal with it.

(Interruptions.)

No, let the Minister give me the information.

(Interruptions.)

When questions are asked of the Minister the Members should be good enough to listen to the reply.

(Limerick West): That is the problem. They do not listen to the reply, otherwise they would not be asking the questions.

While Dublin Corporation have in principle allocated a premises to ONE for accommodation — and that is very welcome — can the Minister indicate whether he will be in a position to assist in any way in the adaptation of that building for use as a hostel and will his Department contribute in any way to the running costs of the hostel once established?

(Limerick West): I have had discussions with the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women, and the matters raised by the Deputy were discussed by us. I told them, and I repeat here, that I and my Department will give every assistance possible to help them.