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Temple Street Children's University Hospital has claimed that a shocking 842 children who were attending its Emergency Department in 2018 were living in emergency accomodation, or didn't have a fixed address.

This means that there has been a 29 percent increase in the amount of patients who are being discharged into homelessness in Dublin, and one-quarter of the children were under one year old.

In 2017, the number of children discharged from ED who had no fixed address was 651.

The majority children last year presented with medical ailments such as chest infections, seizures, asthma, high temperatures and vomiting.

On the other side, 23 percent of children presented with trauma such as head lacerations, burns, self-harm and hand and arm injuries.

In the final three months of 2018 alone, 260 children attended Temple Street's Emergency Department without a fixed address.

Head Medical Social Worker at Temple Street, Anne-Marie Jones commented on the situation, condemning it as "shameful";

She said: "When these children leave our ED, they stay in temporary accommodation with cramped conditions and no appropriate cooking, washing or play facilities."

She added; "This results in accidents or traumas that wouldn’t normally happen if these families were housed in a family home.” 

Dr Ike Okafor, Emergency Medicine Consultant , meanwhile, argued that children's recovery is massively affected by their living situation.

Dr Okafor claims that; "There are children where you do what you can do in hospital, and then you hope they'll go home and recover."

"But these accommodations aren't conducive for recovery for some of the conditions – so they're not the ideal," he said.

He described cases of children undergoing surgery and then having nowhere to go from there, as well as incidents involving children being assaulted trying to find accommodation.

The most recent official homeless figures from November show there were 3,811 children in emergency accommodation that month.

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According to a report in The Irish Times, the Health Service Executive has seen an increase in the number of girls availing of the HPV vaccine this year.

It is understood that the figure has risen from 50 percent to 61 percent – a welcome result following a successful campaign, backed by the World Health Organisation, to promote the vaccine.

Concerns regarding its safety resulted in a sharp drop in the number of school-age girls getting vaccinated, decreasing from 87 per cent in the 2014/2015 school year to 50 per cent last year.

In September of this year, following remarks made by Phonsie Cullinan, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, on the reliability of the HPV vaccine, two Ministers advised the Church to exclude themselves from current medical debate.

Highlighting Bishop Cullinane's lack of medical qualifications, Minister Simon Harris said: “I don’t want to get into a spat with anybody, bishop or no bishop, but at the end of the day the people qualified to give medical advice on vaccinations are doctors and, funnily enough, not bishops.”

Minister John Halligan made reference to the Church's hugely contentious reputation, saying: "Religion has no place in medical debate and the Catholic Church’s track record on the medical welfare of Irish women speaks for itself."

Today, Minister Harris took to Twitter to celebrate the work done by all those involved in the campaign, writing: "Proud to work with many dedicated people in @HSELive & HPV Alliance to bring this about."

Director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien,called the increase in the number of recipients 'encouraging'.

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According to figures released by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, the number of calls reporting rape increased by a staggering 24 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

The annual report states: "There were 3,579 calls specifically relating to adult rape, an increase of 24 per cent. Both the dramatic increase in number and the disturbing nature of the attacks were noted by helpline staff and volunteers throughout the year."

In 2016, the DRCC received 12,388 calls which is 599 more than the number recorded in the previous year.

Commenting on the newly-released figures, Ann Marie Gill of the DRCC says the recorded cases suggest that social media plays a role in the perpetration of sexual violence.

"We are basing our responses to sexual violence on our clients’ stories that they present to us, what their experience has been, and it is becoming more violent," she said. “We are also aware that social media is having a huge influence on sexual violence."

According to the annual report, the number of calls placed to the centre ultimately resulted in an increased demand for face-to-face counselling.

"Our therapists worked with 495 clients, of which 293 were new to the centre,” the report reads.  “Among new clients, 68 per cent had experienced sexual violence in adulthood while 32 per cent had experienced childhood sexual abuse."

"Of the 198 new clients who were victims of rape or sexual assault, 149 had experienced recent rape or sexual assault, and 49 had experienced past rape/sexual assault."

You can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour helpline on 1800-778888.

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Dublin's rent crisis continues as new figures show prices are now almost 20 per cent higher than their Celtic Tiger peak.

According to the latest report from property website Daft.ie, rents nationwide are up by close to 12 per cent in the second quarter of this year. 

The national average now stands at a record high of €1,159 per month, while the average price for a property in Dublin is €1,700.

Renters in the capital now pay €260 more per month than in 2008.

Speaking about the shortage of suitable rental accommodation, Ronan Lyons from Daft said: "At one point, it had never gone below 5,000 – we broke through that, unfortunately, about a year ago," he said.

"It's been steadily decreasing really over the last five years and it's now gone below 3,000 for the first time, so it gives an idea – particularly with more renters now than ever before, there are actually fewer properties available on the market – of just how tough the market is."

Housing and homeless charities say rising rental prices are one of the main factors forcing families into homelessness.

Roughan McNamara from Focus Ireland wants the government to tackle the issue of vacant properties.

"What we're hoping the Government will do is have serious incentives for landlords to rent out properties to get more rental properties available, but also penalties for those who do not rent out their properties and we're hoping that the Vacant Home Strategy, and indeed Rebuilding Ireland, will take urgent action on this issue."

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The cost of electricity is about to increase. 

Householders can expect to pay an extra €20.00, starting from October. 

This is because the Public Service Obligation Levy is going up, says The Commission for Energy Regulation.

This is an increase of 30 per cent per year. 

The PSO Levy is a government subsidy that is charged to all electricity customers in Ireland.

The levy is in place to 'subsidise renewable energy generation and peat burning power plants.'

Previously, householders paid €70.50 per year for the levy, which will now increase to €92.00

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