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Saturday 23 September 2017

Homeless Mason (3) will spend Christmas in a hotel 'without a chimney for Santa'

Siobhan Donohue and her son Mason (3) who will spend Christmas in a hotel. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Siobhan Donohue and her son Mason (3) who will spend Christmas in a hotel. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Laura Lynott

Little Mason Donohue has been homeless most of his life.

The three-year-old boy will spend Christmas with his mother Siobhan Donohue in a hotel once again.

Siobhan (41) said her son already realises he isn't like his friends because the other children talk about going home to their family, while Mason often says "we don't have a chimney" when talking about Santa.

"I really thought the first Christmas that we were homeless, that that would be it," Siobhan told the Irish Independent. "But by the second Christmas I was praying so hard that we would find a home but it didn't happen."

Siobhan, originally from Clondalkin but recently living in Fingal, said Mason was her "dream in life" and is now determined to find a permanent home for them.

"I'd always wanted a child but I became homeless after he was born and we are still here living like this," she said.

"I never wanted this life for my son. I never wanted to have a child to bring him up in this environment.

"Mason knows he is different to other children. He lives in emergency accommodation and has been homeless most of his life and he's only three, so that's what breaks my heart.

"It cuts in to me to know Mason is just a little boy and he knows only this life, and that other children have a home to go to, where they feel safe and warm with their family.

"He's seen too much being homeless," she added. "He's witnessed anti-social behaviour and rows and I do my best to protect him but he just shouldn't be living like this."

She said she has been in contact with Fingal County Council repeatedly trying to get a suitable home for her son.

When contacted about Siobhan's situation, a spokesperson for Fingal County Council said they don't comment on individual cases, but said the council's homeless support team has been in regular dialogue with a view to identifying a sustainable housing source as soon as possible.

"I will make this a special Christmas for Mason, as I always do, but it's very hard to hang on. I just want my son to have a home, like all children should have," she said.

Siobhan had worked full-time up until recent years but she suffered an accident which has led to very painful osteoporosis.

She is due to have an operation in February and is concerned that she may have nowhere suitable to recover as she will be in a wheelchair for at least six months.

"As soon as I am recovered, I want to get my life back on track," she said. "One day when I am pain free I'd love to work again and provide 100pc for my son, but right now I need help.

"I think what the activists are doing to raise awareness of the homeless issue with Apollo House is great, but the public look at people like me and think 'oh well, at least she has a roof over her head', but it's not like that. No one would want their child to be brought up in emergency accommodation.

"It is not a home."

Irish Independent

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