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Thursday 22 February 2018

Family of 14 says they're 'trapped' in three-bed house because council wouldn't give housing to adult children

Winnie O’Donnell says her home has become fire hazard
Winnie O’Donnell says her home has become fire hazard

David Kearns

A desperate mother of 10 claims she has been abandoned by the State because her local council refuses to house her adult children.

Winnie O’Donnell says her overcrowded three-bedroom house in Lucan, South Dublin, has become a fire hazard and that her fears are being ignored by South Dublin County Council.

“We have tried everything to get the council to help but we are trapped here,” she told the Irish Sun.

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Ms O’Donnell lives with her husband, Martin and their 10 children, aged between 16 and 26, and five grand-children.

Just before Christmas, due to overcrowding, one of the daughters, Winnie Jnr left the house with her two children and moved into a caravan parked at the front of the house.

Ms O’Donnell’s husband and one of their adult children are on disability allowance, while the rest of the adult children are in receipt of social welfare.

“It has been impossible to get private rented housing anywhere… we are at the mercy of the council,” the mother of ten told the Irish Sun, adding that while people might say her adult children should "stand on their own two feet" they had been unable to find a landlord willing to accept rent allowance.

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She added: “That caravan is a fire hazard... children shouldn't have to live like that. This is Ireland in 2016.”

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According to the desperate mum, her daughter got a €7,000 loan from a moneylender to buy the caravan and is paying back €100 a week.

“When a Traveller family are accommodated there is no future planning for when the children grow up," she added.

Ms O’Donnell said what was "hurting" the most was that there were five houses sitting empty in her area.

A spokesman for South Dublin County Council told the Irish Sun that the family is in “significant rent arrears” and that they had refused to engage with its 'Choice Based Lettings' housing system.

Under the scheme, people on the waiting list can log on to a website to view properties and can lodge their interest from a menu of social homes.

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