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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Good Samaritan gets family forced to live in a car into hotel

Emma Jane Hade

Published 26/04/2014 | 02:30

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Sabrina McMahon with her children Karl, 5, Michaela, 3, and Chelsea, 18 months, at Bewleys Hotel, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Sabrina McMahon with her children Karl, 5, Michaela, 3, and Chelsea, 18 months, at Bewleys Hotel, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Sabrina McMahon with children Karl, Chelsea and Michaela.
Sabrina McMahon with children Karl, Chelsea and Michaela.

THE homeless mother who was forced to sleep in a car with her children has revealed that a good Samaritan has secured her a hotel room, after Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald called her plight "deeply disturbing".

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Sabrina McMahon and her three young children were last night enjoying the luxury of a hotel bedroom, after an anonymous donor decided to pay for the family to stay there for the next three weeks.

The single mother said her children – Karl (5), Chelsea (3) and two-year-old Michaela – were ecstatic in their temporary accommodation last night, and that she was looking forward to "lying down and having a rest".

"The kids don't know themselves running up and down the room. Saying, 'look we have our own toilet and our own bath', and 'look at the TV'.

"I am shocked, totally shocked. To think they are all going to have baths later, it is just amazing. I can't get over it. There are good people out there."

Ms McMahon said that she was "overwhelmed" when she got the anonymous call yesterday.

"An anonymous person, a Good Samaritan, is after paying for us to stay in Bewley's Hotel for the next three weeks. He doesn't even want to be named. I was speaking to him on the phone and he is going to come and meet us here tomorrow."

She said that she had yet to hear back from South Dublin County Council, but hoped contact would be made next week.

Yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald described the family's nightmare as "deeply disturbing", and said that she now wanted to "ensure that the local authorities respond to her and find her proper accommodation".

"My reaction is the same as everyone who read that story yesterday. Horrified," she told the Irish Independent.

"I don't know the precise details that led to that situation with regard to her previous housing, but clearly, we want a system that's responsible to children, mothers and fathers who find themselves in this situation."

Ms McMahon, a Tallaght native, was living in her car there after spending the best part of two years moving from house to house since her former partner left. They moved from Athy, Co Kildare, two years ago to be closer to her family in Tallaght when her council home was broken into.

Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay expressed disgust at the "horrifying" news, but said it was not "particularly surprising".

"This is the most extreme case I have heard of, but I know of hundreds of women and children who live in temporary bedsits that are paid for by local authorities – not suitable at all," he said.

Irish Independent

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