Dublin Drops Proposal for Cruise Ship-Based Homeless Shelter

Cruise ships at Dublin Port, August 2018 (file image / Garda Air Support Unit)

Published Oct 4, 2018 9:56 AM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, a division of Dublin's city council withdrew a proposal to use a cruise ship for homeless accommodations after the concept drew criticism from Ireland's housing ministry.

"The cruise ship idea is not suitable for homeless families in need. Better, more appropriate, solutions are being pursued every day by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive," said Irish housing and development minister Eoghan Murphy in a statement. 

Rental costs in Dublin have risen sharply in recent years, driven up by a booming economy, and the numbers of homeless adults and families have followed. Advocacy group Focus Ireland puts the number of newly homeless families in Dublin's streets and shelters at about four per day. 

In response, Ireland's housing agency has been pressing Dublin to increase the availability of shelter accommodations. City officials suggested turning to unconventional solutions that had been previously reviewed and set aside - including a plan to berth a cruise ship at Dublin Port to house up to 150 single homeless individuals. The charter cost for the unidentified, 200-passenger vessel would have been approximately $500,000 per week. 

"It was felt that this approach would offer a number of advantages relative to other single person emergency accommodation options, including speed of delivery and access to higher quality self-contained apartment-type accommodation at a competitive cost," the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive told Irish media. Even though it has now discarded this option, the agency said that it "will be able to source sufficient additional emergency accommodation to address the requirement of rough sleepers this winter."