'I just want a home for my children' - mum on housing list for 12 years
A woman who has spent nearly 12 years on a council house waiting list has said "I just want to give my children a home of their own".
Orla Thornton (32), from Drogheda, Co Louth, and who has two children - 10-week-old daughter Lola-May and Noah (4) - said there must be more transparency in how houses are allocated.
"He keeps asking me are we moving again? He has lived at five different addresses because we have always rented. He often asks me will we have to move again," she said.
Ms Thornton first went on the housing list with Louth County Council when she was 18. She has organised a peaceful protest due to take place outside the Drogheda offices of Louth County Council tomorrow to highlight the need for more housing in the county.
"There is a crisis and we are all in the same boat and none of us on the waiting list are getting anywhere," she said. "There are boarded-up houses and we want the council to give them to people on the list."
Ms Thornton, who used to run her own craft business, said: "I have been homeless at times and had to sleep on friends' sofas. I have spent all my adult life on a waiting list for my own home and renting while I wait."
She is currently renting privately in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda.
"I want my home for me and my children. I have been on the list long enough."
Louth County Council said it does not comment on individual cases but confirmed that it is using legislation to acquire empty properties to house people.
A spokesman said: "Louth County Council can confirm that it has been using the Compulsory Purchase Order process provided in the Housing Act, 1966, for acquisition of vacant dwellings that are suitable for use as social housing units.
"The council initially used this method to address a small number of privately owned dwellings in local authority estates that were a source of significant anti-social behaviour.
"This successful initiative is now a general acquisition method for acquiring units for social housing purposes. This method has no impact on the local housing market as the properties acquired are not for sale."