Residents 'live out of a suitcase' as long battle begins
Published 19/10/2011 | 05:00
LIVING out of a suitcase.
This is the new reality facing mum-of two Stephanie Meehan as she struggles to settle into her new "home"' at the Regency Hotel in Dublin.
"We arrived on Monday night. It's been a nightmare ever since," she explains while cradling her six-month-old daughter in the breezy hotel lobby.
She's one of 200 Priory Hall residents who have been forced to leave their Donaghmede apartments.
"My five-year-old is acting up all the time. He didn't sleep last night because of all the upheaval. There's nowhere for the kids to play. It's too dangerous for them to run around outside because of all the cars in the car park. I'm definitely not staying here past the weekend that's for sure.
"I have a full-time job and have had to take the last two days off. I'll go back in tomorrow to try and get some sense of normality back into my life. But what's normal about living in a hotel?"
Tension is etched on her face as she points to a bottle sterilising machine on a table in front of her.
"I have no proper way of sterilising bottles for my baby. The hotel staff have been as helpful as they can be but this is no way to live," she says.
She says Dublin City Council has done little to ease their heartache.
"We're being kept completely in the dark by the council. There was supposed to be people here on Monday evening at eight and they didn't arrive until ten o'clock. But at that stage most of the parents were up in the rooms putting their kids to bed so we didn't get to ask the questions we wanted to ask. It's unacceptable."
She says the Priory Hall residents are prepared for a long battle to get their apartments made habitable.
"Our future is uncertain -- I don't know what will happen. But we'll keep fighting."