President Michael D Higgins says housing policy in Ireland is a "disaster".
He was speaking at the opening of a centre for homeless young adults in county Kildare this afternoon.
The facility which is based in Naas will accommodate seven men and five women between the ages of 18 and 25.
"Building homes is what is important. It is not to be a star performer for the speculative sector internationally."
Will Government heed the words of President Michael D Higgins?
— Ben Finnegan (@_BenFinnegan) June 14, 2022
"And I often ask myself, you know - how Republican is what we created?
"And isn't it sometimes closer to the poor law system we thought we were departing from," said President Michael D Higgins.
"It's a real challenge. I have taken as well to speaking ever more frankly in relation to housing because I think it is a great, great, great failure.
"It isn't a crisis anymore, it is a disaster.
"I think we have to really think about meeting the basic needs of people in a Republic be it food, shelter and education."
"Building homes is what is important, it is not to be a star performer for the speculative sector internationally or anything else."
Latest figures from the Department of Housing show the number of people in homeless accommodation has gone above 10,000 for the first time since February 2020.
In April there were 10,049 in hotels and B&Bs - up 2% from March's total.
It includes 2,944 children.
The total from the Government doesn't include Ukrainian refugees in pledged accommodation, Direct Provision, women in refuge centres or rough sleepers.