Monday 26 September 2016

The Junior Cert student and her family who are living in a car as she sits her exams

Anne Lucey

Published 09/06/2015 | 07:57

08-06-2015: Killarney Community College Junior Cert student Banisha Kisto (15) who had to study and live in a car with her family while doing her exams . Included are Makash Kisto (9), Poorvi Bipta (20 months), Prema Kisto and Sailesh Bipta. Picture: Eamonn Keogh
08-06-2015: Killarney Community College Junior Cert student Banisha Kisto (15) who had to study and live in a car with her family while doing her exams . Included are Makash Kisto (9), Poorvi Bipta (20 months), Prema Kisto and Sailesh Bipta. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

A Junior Cert student is living and studying for her exams in a car along with her family.

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Banisha Kisto (15), a third year student from Killarney, Co Kerry, sat her Geography exam yesterday after spending the weekend preparing for it in a car, alongside mother Prema, her partner Sailesh, and younger brothers Makash (9) and Poorvi (20 months).

Two weeks ago, the family were renting a house in a Co Kerry village.

However, they were rushed to Kerry General Hospital following a suspected gas poisoning at their home and were hospitalised for some time. The HSE has advised the family not to return to the property.

Since they have left hospital, the family have not been able to source other accommodation, and their belongings remain in their former home, said former health worker Prema Kisto.

Originally from Mauritius, Ms Kisto said she has been in Ireland for seven years. She said she worked in a nursing home until recently but her contract was not extended.

08-06-2015: Killarney Community College Junior Cert student Banisha Kisto (15) who had to study and live in a car with her family while doing her exams . Included are Makash Kisto (9), Poorvi Bipta (20 months), Prema Kisto and Sailesh Bipta. Picture: Eamonn Keogh (macmonagle.com) STORY : ANNE LUCEY
08-06-2015: Killarney Community College Junior Cert student Banisha Kisto (15) who had to study and live in a car with her family while doing her exams . Included are Makash Kisto (9), Poorvi Bipta (20 months), Prema Kisto and Sailesh Bipta. Picture: Eamonn Keogh (macmonagle.com) STORY : ANNE LUCEY

Ms Kisto said her partner works in a hotel in Killarney, but is paying maintenance to his former wife and family and has no money left over from his €400 a week salary.

Local Independent Councillor Donal Grady paid for hotel accommodation for the family for one night - charity St Vincent de Paul paid for two nights.

But the family have nothing now. "I have no money for food. I have nothing," Ms Kisto said.

She spent Friday night trying to get a room in Killarney but couldn't find one and was calling into guesthouses up until 1.30am, but none had vacancies.

Dan O'Leary, Kerry County Council's acting homeless co-ordinator, said the council was finding it impossible to source accommodation that met the family's needs. Killarney's accommodation was full due to tourist season, and he was dealing with two other families who were also seeking emergency shelter.

Mr O'Leary said the council homeless unit did not realise Banisha was a student in Killarney when they offered the family accommodation in a Tralee hostel.

However, the family have since refused a room in a guesthouse as baby Poorvi is allergic to carpet.

Mr O'Leary said the council had done their utmost to source emergency accommodation for the family - and would continue to do so.

Cllr Donal Grady said: "It is extraordinarily upsetting to see this family, one of whom is sitting exams, having to stay in their car. These are genuine people. We have gone back 40 years in this country."

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