Press Release

Ireland faces a ‘deepening social crisis,’ warns Merchants Quay Ireland

Ireland faces a ‘deepening social crisis,’ warns Merchants Quay Ireland

Ireland faces a “deepening social crisis”, Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) warned today, as levels of homelessness and addiction continued to rise.

The charity’s 2017 Annual Review, launched by Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne, showed that more than 10,000 people accessed services ranging from hot meals and emergency shelter to drug treatment and rehabilitation. The report also shows:

  • MQI provided 13,301 supportive interventions, helping people to access healthcare, accommodation, drug treatment, training, and welfare supports.
  • There continued to be a significant increase in the number of people accessing MQI’s healthcare services, with the total almost doubling in two years.
  • 2,583 people attended MQI’s Health Promotion Unit in 2017, helping minimise harm to active drug users.
  • Almost 2,000 people used emergency shelter at MQI’s Night Café.
  • 170 people went through MQI’s detox and rehabilitation services.

The launch also sees the retirement of long time CEO and MQI co-founder Tony Geoghegan, and the current Head of Day Services, Paula Byrne, becoming Chief Executive.

Speaking at the launch of the report, new CEO Paula Byrne said:

“Ireland is in the midst of a deepening social crisis, in housing, in homelessness, and in addiction. Last year, we had over 10,000 people in need come through our doors. The number of people using our healthcare services has doubled in two years. It’s clear that there is serious and chronic need on our streets.

“In response to this, we have expanded our services throughout Ireland. With the support of our partners and donors, we will continue to meet that need where it arises.

“Times are changing at Merchants Quay Ireland, but our mission will remain the same: to care for people in addiction and homelessness with understanding, compassion, and dignity.”

Co-Founder and outgoing CEO of Merchants Quay Ireland, Tony Geoghegan said:

“It has been a real privilege to do this job. Ireland is facing significant challenges, but I know from decades at MQI that people can recover. They can come out of addiction and out of homelessness.

“Society’s role is not to find fault or to judge but to help people who find themselves in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. That is what Merchants Quay has been doing for decades, and that is what I am sure it will continue to do”.


For more information or to arrange an interview with our spokesperson, Tony Geoghegan, please contact:

Andrew Rooney
Communications Officer
Merchants Quay Ireland
T: 01 531 2958
M: 086 7793 208

Twitter: @MerchantsQuayIR

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