Lesbian couple flee home in terror after 'threats of violence'
Published 29/09/2016 | 00:00
A lesbian couple have claimed they were forced to flee their home due to repeated threats and intimidation over their sexuality after they became a couple.
Lisa and Dawn O'Driscoll, who are both in their early 30s, said they were threatened that they would be "burned out" of their home in an estate in Limerick, which they do not want to identify.
Lisa (32) and Dawn (31) fled their home a year ago and have now received alternative accommodation through Thomond House, an organisation which provides a refuge for women who are at risk of becoming homeless.
However, the move has also forced the couple to be separated from Lisa's five children - all boys - aged three, six, seven, nine and 12, who now live in a two-bed apartment with Lisa's former partner elsewhere in the city.
Previously, all seven lived in a three-bed house.
The couple, who are both in receipt of disability allowance, are now desperately pleading with Limerick City and County Council to find them a suitable home, where they can live with the children.
"We had to leave our home over a year ago now. We suffered abuse. We were hit with stones, called faggots. We were told we would be burned out of our home, with my children inside.
"The boys were bullied and one of them was even kicked in the stomach one day," Lisa told the 'Limerick Leader' newspaper. "We are down as an emergency case with the council, but it's ridiculous - nothing has happened. We had no choice but to leave. Only for Thomond House, we wouldn't have had anywhere to go," she said.
Lisa and Dawn have been together for two years and married in Limerick last year.
"We had to leave suddenly as we were told we would be burned out of it that night. But the most I can take in the apartment overnight is two of the boys, under our contract, not all five of them.
"All I want is for the council to give us a house. We were in a three-bed house before and we managed."
Limerick City and County Council said that it does not comment on individual cases, as it believes it is not appropriate to discuss the personal circumstances of any housing applicant publicly.
"The local authority makes every effort to house people who are on the housing waiting list in an efficient manner," said a spokesperson. It outlined there are a broad range of options available for social housing, other than local authority houses.