Tuesday 23 January 2018

'Miracle baby' set to become youngest victim of Ireland's housing crisis

"Around six months ago our landlord told us we were going to be evicted as he is selling the house." Photo: PA

Kathy Armstrong

A "miracle" baby who survived being born over two months prematurely in the back of a van, and who then had to be resuscitated by gardai, looks set to become the youngest victim of Ireland's housing crisis.

Little Keith Theseus Geoghegan-Kelly had a dramatic entrance into the world last Friday morning and continues to fight for his life in intensive care.

His devastated father Keith Snr said that if his son is released from hospital then they may not be bringing him home, but instead to a hotel room as the family are set to enter the emergency accommodation system.

Keith Snr, who is from Blanchardstown area of Dubllin, told Independent.ie that time is running out for himself and his partner Sinnitta Geoghegan to find a home for Keith Jnr, their older daughter Lexi (1) and Keith's son Noah (10), who is from a previous relationship and often stays with them.

Baby Keith clutches his mum Sinnitta's finger as he fights for his life
Baby Keith clutches his mum Sinnitta's finger as he fights for his life

Keith Snr (32) explained: "We have been living in our house in Blanchardstown for about six years now and around six months ago our landlord told us we were going to be evicted as he is selling the house.

"Since then we've been looking for anything going but there's hundreds of people viewing everything, once agencies hear that you're on the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment support) Scheme they don't want to know, they don't even bother to get back to you then.

"The stress of it has really taken its toll on us, we're going to lose our home on Sunday and there's nothing lined up."

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Sinnitta was due to give birth to the couple's second child on November 19 but ended up going into labour over two months early on Friday 8 September.

Keith Snr said: "She woke up with pains at around 2am and we thought it must just be Braxton Hicks but when we got up at 6am she knew she was really in labour.

"We dropped Lexi to a friend's house and we were in the van on the way to the Rotunda but Sinnitta knew she wasn't going to last until then so we had to pull in behind the Vineyard pub in Blanchardstown and she gave birth in the back of the van.

"The baby wasn't breathing, he didn't cry, he didn't open his eyes, we knew we didn't have time to get to the hospital so we went to Blanchardstown Garda Station, we know a tiny bit of CPR but we figured someone there would know more."

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Thankfully their instinct was right and Garda Cathriona White was able to revive baby Keith, before Detective Garda Shane McCarton drove them to Connolly Hospital, where baby Keith had to be resuscitated before he was later transferred to the Rotunda Hospital.

Keith Snr, who is unemployed, said: "We're taking it every day as it comes, he's a little miracle and he's fighting for his life, we've been told that it will be at least November until he's allowed to leave hospital."

In between visiting Keith Jr and caring for Noah and Lexi, Keith Snr and Sinnitta are still trying to find somewhere to live before they lose their home on Sunday.

He said: "We've contacted the council for help but there's a waiting list for houses so we've been told that we could end up staying in a hotel room.

"It's just a nightmare because when Keith Jr gets out of hospital he'll be so susceptible to picking up infections, it's not what you want to bring a premature baby to.

"We don't have any relatives to stay with either because we have three kids and they all have kids and families of their own so they just don't have space."

A spokesman for Dublin City Council told Independent.ie: "We don’t comment on individual cases.

"There are supports and advice available for tenants who are experiencing difficulties through  Threshold who provide a Freephone service on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities.

"Any family that finds itself in danger of being made homeless should contact the Placefinder service operated by the DRHE.

"They have the expertise to source accommodation appropriate to a family’s particular circumstances.

"Details on supports and advice  are available on the DRHE’s website www.homelessdublin.ie"

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