Wednesday 26 June 2019

‘We’ve nowhere to go bar a car or a cardboard box’ - Irish dad of four say his family face homelessness in New York

Barry and Cheryl McCormack are facing homelessness in New York with their four children, Patrick (11), Aidan (10) Logan (5) and Marian-Rose (3) McCormack. Credit: Barry McCormack
Barry and Cheryl McCormack are facing homelessness in New York with their four children, Patrick (11), Aidan (10) Logan (5) and Marian-Rose (3) McCormack. Credit: Barry McCormack

Gabija Gataveckaite

A father of four who is facing homelessness in New York says that returning to Ireland is a ‘dream’.

Barry McCormack is crying out for support in the US after suffering a series of injuries in the last 10 years which have left himself and his wife unable to work again. 

The father, who immigrated to New York from Westmeath in 2005, is now unable to work and his young family is facing eviction from their mobile home in a trailer park due to arrears.

“We’ve nowhere to go bar a car or a cardboard box,” he told Independent.ie.

“I would love to go back to Ireland as some members of my family haven’t met some of the kids or my wife. The support network in Ireland is far better than the one here,” he said.

He first made the headlines in 2010 when he suffered a heavy blow to his head after an unprovoked attack.

Barry was left in a medically induced coma for 10 weeks and was unable to work full-time for seven years.

In 2017, he got employed again as a carpenter, only to suffer a serious injury at work which broke his leg last year.

The family amassed a series of arrears during the period that Barry was unable to work after he was attacked and lost their apartment.

Since 2014, the family of six has been living in a mobile home in a trailer park.

“We couldn’t go anywhere else as our credit worthiness shot down,” he explained.

Even though he received compensation from his workplace injury which he suffered in 2017 when he broke his leg, Barry said that the payment is bi-weekly and accounts only for 55-60pc of his wage.

“It’s not exactly sufficient, it comes once every two weeks, not enough to pay arrears,” he said.

“When you see the numbers on paper it doesn’t make sense but we’re playing so much catch up.”

His wife Cheryl, who is from the States, hasn’t been able to work permanently since she suffered a workplace injury in 2006.

She was a supervisor of people with intellectual disabilities and was left with severe back and neck injuries after an incident at work.

“She couldn’t claim because she was working for a company but the claim would have to be filed against the patient and she didn’t want to do that,” Barry explained.

“She can do limited work but her injuries are so severe after her surgeries, she’s practically been left disabled, she can’t drive for long periods of time.”

The pair have four children, Patrick (11), Aidan (10) Logan (5) and Marian-Rose (3) McCormack.

“There’s a big black cloud over us.”

“I can’t deal with it much longer but it’s not about me, it’s about my kids and my wife Cheryl,” he said.

“Now we’re on the verge of eviction from the trailer park as we can’t pay our bills.”

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