A YOUNG Dublin mum who took her own life a year ago as she struggled with the pressure of securing a home for her and her children wrote an emotional final plea in a letter to the council.
Danielle Carroll was 27 when she ended her life in the one room emergency accommodation she was sharing with her partner and sons DJ (6) and Carter (20 months) on August 30, 2017.
She had been told less than two weeks earlier in a letter from South Dublin County Council that a house she was offered near her parents in Tallaght was now being withdrawn and she would be given an apartment in Lucan instead.
The news devastated Danielle, who had already been treated for mental health issues stemming from the stress of trying to bring up her sons in a homeless environment.
She wrote a letter to the council explaining her situation which she hand-delivered.
But in her family’s opinion, having being promised a home only to have it taken away again pushed Danielle over the edge.
Speaking to Independent.ie on the eve of the first anniversary of her death, her heartbroken parents urged Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to “get his act together”.
The Carroll family were plunged into further grief again five months after Danielle’s death when her sister Pauline (37), a mother-of-one, died of a heart attack.
She lived across the road from her parents on the Kilmartin estate in Tallaght, and had previously battled breast cancer but had been given the all-clear.
“Life has just been hell for us. Pure hell,” Danielle’s mother Margaret said through tears.
“All Danielle wanted was a little house with bunk beds for her little boys. She got that and then had it snatched away. It was just too much for her.”
Danielle’s dad Frank added: “She had been delighted with the news she was finally getting somewhere.
“She asked me would I help her paint and wallpaper it. We even went and cut the grass in the garden and her little boy was delighted.”
Danielle was fully supported by her loving family while living in the hotel, but was looking forward to the future and finally having her own home for her children.
“Danielle just wanted her independence,” Margaret told Independent.ie.
“She had lots of things gathered to make her own home. She had beds for the boys, a washing machine, knives and forks – everything you need.
“We cry every day. Every single day. Danielle and Pauline are buried together in Newlands Cross.
“They should be burying me and Frank, not the other way around,” Margaret added as the couple sat in the living room where their two daughters were waked, with pictures of them featuring prominently among the many family photographs on the walls. In the hall a sign hangs over the stairs.
“Having a place to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing,” it reads.
The Carrolls today share the letter that Danielle wrote to the council after she received the news that the house offer was being withdrawn.
“Two weeks ago I was offered a house in Glenshane Lawns, to which I accepted. I told my two kids that we finally got a house as we have been living in a hotel the last nine months. Four people in one bed. No cooking facilities, no washing machine, having to eat out every day,” she wrote.
“The hotel is in Leixlip, Co Kildare. My six-year-old son goes to school in Fettercairn, Tallaght. I brought my children over to view their new house. My six-year-old son was so happy to finally have a new home.”
In the letter, Danielle said that when she went to the council to enquire about picking up the keys to the house she was told there was a letter for her at reception. When she read it, she discovered the house offer had been withdrawn.
“I am understandably devastated at this news as I was ready to start a new chapter in my life. I haven’t broke the news to my children yet as I don’t want to break their hearts anymore,” Danielle wrote.
She said she wanted to turn down the apartment in Lucan because she suffered with her mental health and had been signed into the psychiatric ward at St James’s Hospital “over the built-up pressure of everyday living, struggling with having if you could take all of this into consideration.”
Ahead of the anniversary of Danielle’s death tomorrow, Margaret and Frank have a message for the Government.
“In an ideal world you would hope that Danielle’s death would make a difference, but things have got worse – not better,” said Frank.
“Every time you turn on the TV or radio the homeless situation is on again and again. The numbers are going up, not down.”
Margaret agreed, adding: “The politicians are a waste of space. I’ll never vote for anyone again. There’s children sleeping in chairs in garda stations. My message to Eoghan Murphy and the Government is that they should be ashamed of themselves.
“Help the homeless. The winter is coming. Build houses. There’s people sleeping on the streets,” she said.
“I was in town today and there was a man in a doorway sleeping on cardboard.
“He was shivering under an umbrella and I bought him a cup of tea and a sandwich.
“There was another woman somewhere else. I gave her a fiver.
“I sit here in this room surrounded by memories. I see the pictures on the walls, and when I look out the window I see Pauline's house.
"We won't have Christmas this year. Frank said to me he doesn't have the heart to put up a tree. 'I understand Frank, I understand,' I told him."
On the green opposite Frank and Margaret's house a tree of hope has been planted.
A small space for remembrance, with a bench, has been developed around it.
"It's for all the people and families who have suffered mental health issues and suicides," said Frank.
"I water the tree three times a day. First at five in the morning, I don't sleep."
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.
Dozens of protesters are refusing to vacate a property on North Frederick St in Dublin city centre despite a High Court injunction ordering them to leave by 2pm today.