Tuesday 19 September 2017

'I haven't eaten in two days' - Young mum on sleeping in car park near the Dáil

Eileen McCabe pictured in the stairwell of a car park in Dublin where she sleeps at night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Eileen McCabe pictured in the stairwell of a car park in Dublin where she sleeps at night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Eileen McCann pictured in the stairwell of a car park in Dublin where she sleeps at night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Ian Begley

A young mum sleeping inside a multi-storey car park near the Dail says she has not had anything to eat in more than two days, as she desperately tries to find a place to call home.

Eileen McCann (28), from Dundrum, was in tears as she described the difficulties she faces on a daily basis.

“I’m walking the streets alone and haven’t eaten a thing in two days,” she said.

“I’m frozen all the time and spend my nights crying my eyes out inside a car park opposite Leinster House.”

HELP

“I don’t drink or do drugs at all and I’m finding it so hard to get help. All I want is to find a home, anywhere, so I can take care of my four-year-old son.

“He has been put into foster care and I’m only allowed to see him several times a week, which breaks my heart.”

Eileen became homeless, it also led to her losing her job at a South Dublin dry-cleaners.

Eileen McCann pictured in the stairwell of a car park in Dublin where she sleeps at night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Eileen McCann pictured in the stairwell of a car park in Dublin where she sleeps at night. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

“I was having such a hard time that it greatly affected my work and I lost my job and everything else as a result.

“I’m a qualified hairdresser, dry cleaner and telemarketer, but I just can’t hold down a job without a home.

“Every time I climb a ladder I just fall back down.”

The young mother added that she has gone down various avenues in search of a safe place to sleep.

However, she claims that the homeless hostels offered to her were just too dangerous.

She also says she faces abuse as many homeless people simply do not believe she is a victim of poverty.

“I get a lot of abuse from people in the same situation as me,” she said.

“They say because of my southside accent I’m not really badly off and don’t deserve help, which is just ridiculous.”

She has sought out help from politicians and Dublin City Council, she said, but found no suitable solutions.

“I contacted a politician several months ago who said he will try and find me a place to live, but I haven’t heard anything back,” she told the Herald.

She said Dublin City Council informed her it could be several years before they located suitable accommodation.

DANGEROUS

Dublin City Council had not responded to a request for comment last night.

“They advised me to call the Central Placement Service’s hotline, but I find wherever they try to set me up too dangerous to stay.

“I’ve been also told that Apollo House is full up.”

Eileen says she feels she has no other option but to beg – which causes her much embarrassment and shame.

“I’m now forced to beg on the streets. I find it so shameful and if any of my friends saw me with a cup in my hand I think I would just die of embarrassment.”

Once while she begging, Eileen was asked by a garda to move on.

She said her circumstances are so bleak she wondered if she would be “better off in a cell” than sleeping on the streets.

She worries about the impact her situation is having on her child.

“It’s just so hard knowing that I can’t wake up with my son, put him to bed or feed him.”

Eileen added that she believes the Government is highlighting the homeless crisis, but is doing little to tackle it.

“I know that the homeless crisis is a huge talking point in the Government now,” she said.

“But I feel like they’re not really doing anything to help people like me.”

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