'I just need to put a roof over her head' - Homeless man and wife with brain illness forced to live in car after home was destroyed in petrol bomb attack
Published 19/06/2016 | 16:05
A couple who lost their home in a petrol bomb attack two years ago have been living in their car for nearly three months.
Patrick and Pauline Murphy’s home of 28 years was destroyed in 2014 when a fire-bomb was thrown through their window in the middle of the night.
Now he is desperate to find a home for his ailing wife, who has suffered from organic brain syndrome for 11 years.
Patrick, a former security guard, said her condition has deteriorated since they became homeless.
“My wife is not well, and she has to get an injection every two weeks. A week and a half ago, she got a kidney infection from sleeping in the car in the cold,” he said.
On that horrifying night, Patrick (58) had been in the living room and saw the room burst into flames around him, while his wife and two of his sons were asleep upstairs.
“The window was broken in and a petrol bomb was thrown in on top of me. Lucky enough, I was sleeping downstairs because of the wife’s condition, and I was awake. Otherwise, we would have got burned out,” he said.
“My middle son found my wife in the landing conked out, only for him she would have been killed. He ended up in hospital for seven days after, he swallowed the flames down his throat and got burned.”
Patrick described the attack as part of an ongoing feud after the eldest of his three sons, Patrick Jnr, “got mixed up with the wrong crowd”.
“This crowd did what they did. They would have killed us, if I had been up in the bedroom sleeping none of us would have got out,” he said.
They managed to sell the gutted property for €120,000, but when the money ran out in April of this year they were left with no choice but to sleep in their car.
“I sold the house the way it was, and I used the money over the last two years to keep a roof over my wife’s head,” the 58-year-old told Independent.ie.
“We were living in hotels and bed & breakfasts for the last two years, and then we ran out, that’s when I started all this. I tried to buy places and it fell through, and then the money just went.”
Dublin Mid-West TD Gino Kenny has been trying to help by making calls to the gardaí and the council on their behalf, but said they are facing difficulty securing the documentation they need to find a place to live.
“I’d like to see them get emergency accommodation or some sort of rent allowance. Nobody can live in a car. In the very short-term, because of Patrick’s wife condition, they need to be put in some sort of accommodation,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be resolved because it’s an awful situation. I don’t know where this is going to go, I’ve seen situations like this drag on and on. I feel very sorry for the family, they can’t live like that.”
In the meantime, Patrick and Pauline have been sleeping in their car almost every night since the beginning of April.
When they can, they sleep in friends’ houses or seek help from homeless charities.
“It’s very frustrating. During the day, we’re just sitting in the car. Sometimes we’ll go up to a garage to use the toilets,” Patrick said.
“We were 28 years in that house. We owned it. I was never in trouble with the police in my life, and neither was my wife.
“We’re under so much pressure. I just need to put a roof over her head. It’s not fair to her.”