Friday 14 December 2018

'I don’t expect anything from this government' - Margaret Cash speaks out on homelessness crisis ahead of Budget 2019

Margaret Cash and her children spent a night sleeping on chairs in Tallaght garda station
Margaret Cash and her children spent a night sleeping on chairs in Tallaght garda station

Rachel Farrell

Mother-of-seven Margaret Cash has said she doesn't "expect anything" from the Government in the Budget tomorrow in regards to housing.

Ms Cash (28) made headlines earlier this month after photographs emerged of six of her children, between the ages of one and 11 years old, sleeping on chairs in Tallaght garda station.

The family is living in a B&B in Drumcondra, Ms Cash confirmed this evening, deeming it "unacceptable" to have children sleeping there for this long.

"It’s better now than what it was then. We’ve got a permanent place where we know we’re going to be every night," she said on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Show this evening.

"It’s just not acceptable to have kids living this long in B&Bs, they’re like prisoners.

"They're in their hotel room, B&B room, they’re not able to mix with anybody else, they can’t have people come in for a game on the play station, knock for their friends. Basically, their whole childhood is gone."

When asked what changes she would like to see in the 2019 Budget, which will be announced tomorrow, Margaret said she expects "nothing" to change.

"I don’t expect anything from this government. Nothing, to be honest."

Speaking in response to Ms Cash's comments, homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry described the recent stories of families sleeping rough as "harrowing".

"The stories are harrowing and the damage it can have on children is well documented.

Margaret Cash pictured with Andy (1) one of her six children. Pic: Colin O'Riordan
Margaret Cash pictured with Andy (1) one of her six children. Pic: Colin O'Riordan

"Children become depressed, they become withdrawn, they become aggressive, they lose interest in school."

He added that stories of homeless families have come to light in recent years and started becoming an issue from 2013 onwards.

"The damage is terrible. In 2011, there was no such thing as homeless families. It didn’t exist.

"Homeless families only started growing in about 2013 and now we have a situation, a crisis of homeless families with what, 1,700 homeless families in the country.

"The government never foresaw this coming, they never took action to prevent it happening."

Last week, Ms Cash took to the streets of Dublin alongside thousands of campaigners to demand action on the housing crisis.

A large crowd marched to Leinster House where they were greeted by several speakers including Senator Francis Black and singer/song writer Damien Dempsey.

"How many innocent people will die on our streets this winter," Ms Cash asked the crowd in an impassioned speech at the protest.

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