Thursday 22 March 2018

'I sobbed when they told me we had to go', says mum after closure of building

From left: Gemma Bradley, Aishling Kenny and Carol McNulty,
who are being made homeless with their families
From left: Gemma Bradley, Aishling Kenny and Carol McNulty, who are being made homeless with their families

Alan O'Keeffe

Several mothers have spoken of their families' upset at being given just seven days' notice by Dublin City Council to move out of their accommodation.

Seven families with children, three couples and two single women were all informed by council officials last Thursday they must vacate their accommodation in the building on Mountjoy Street by February 26.

Some of the people have been living in the hostel for up to two years. They were all living there under emergency accommodation provisions.

The council informed them a contract agreement between the private owner and the council was ending on Friday next. The officials said they would seek to arrange alternative accommodation for them.

Four of the mothers claimed they had been promised when they moved in that they would not have to move again until a permanent home was found for them. But a number of them were offered accommodation in hotels once more.

Mother-of-two Rachel McGuinness said she turned down an offer this week to be moved into the Regency Hotel with her children.

The 24-year-old was then offered accommodation in a bed and breakfast in Clontarf, which was the same place that she and her father stayed in when they were homeless when she was 14.

"I don't want to go back there and hope another place can be found," she said.

Carol McNulty (31) told the Herald the building was "a home from home" for her and her daughter Molly (4) for more than six months.

"This place was known as the best of the best of accommodation for homeless people. We grew to love it here.

"I cried and sobbed when the council staff told me we all had to leave. I don't know where the council will put us.

"The council had put us into a hotel before, but I suffer from asthma and I can't live in one bedroom accommodation anymore," said Carol, who works as a carer on a "zero-hour" contract.

"At the end of the day, all we want is affordable housing. Why can't the politicians provide social housing and invest in the future by investing in our children," she said.

Aisling Kenny (32) said she and her partner Mark and three young children lived at Mountjoy Street since having to leave their three-bedroom rented house in Coolock last May, when the landlord sold the property.

"One of my sons and my daughter go to school in Coolock, yet the council offered us accommodation in Harold's Cross way over on the southside," she said.

"It was already taking a long time for the children to get to school, but now they wanted us to make them travel to Coolock from Harold's Cross.

"The kids are under enough pressure as it is and we want somewhere closer to the school.

"My daughter is very upset at having to move again."

Rebecca Tierney (32), who is unemployed, said seven days notice was insufficient and would not be acceptable in the private sector. She was paying €16 a week there and had now been placed by the council in a building in Clanbrassil Street with other women.

A council spokeswoman said "emergency homeless accommodation on Mountjoy Street is provided by a private landlord" and that a contractual agreement between the council and the landlord will cease at the end of the month.

"We are trying to provide as much stability for the families as possible in light of the fact that the commercial arrangement has ceased," she said.

"This has been a challenge for Dublin City Council, in light of the level of presentation we have to homeless services, with 125 new families presenting to homeless services in the Dublin region in January 2016.

"Dublin City Council are currently in the process of putting alternative arrangements in place for all households concerned and will ensure that there is emergency accommodation provided for them by the end of February.

"We may have to provide brief temporary placements for families until more suitable accommodation is available to us in the vicinity of schools."


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