Sunday 17 February 2019

'What do I tell my kids? I feel heartbroken' - mum-of-seven Margaret Cash told she must leave home given to her by council

Margaret Cash with six of her seven children after the homeless family had to sleep at Tallaght garda station
Margaret Cash with six of her seven children after the homeless family had to sleep at Tallaght garda station
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Homeless mother-of-seven Margaret Cash has been told she must leave the apartment given to her, just four days after moving in.

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

The young mother spoke of her delight last week when she and her children moved into a three-bed flat on Parnell Street, in Dublin's inner city.

At the time, Dublin City Council said it would be offered to her on a week's trial, followed by a month-on-month basis.

However, yesterday Ms Cash took to Facebook to reveal the disappointing news.

"The landlord needs the apartment back because he has it let from September 2.

"The council got my hopes up they said it was long-term on a month-to-month basis.

"No such thing, what do I tell my kids? I really can't cope with this, feel heartbroken."

Ms Cash added that the council later informed her that it will have an alternative dwelling ready for her in Drumcondra by Friday, but says that she is sceptical.

"So, the council said come Friday they will have somewhere else," she wrote. "For how long we don't know.

"I've begged them to put me somewhere near to Tallaght, but they won't. My kids don't know anyone around there. I really can't do this anymore."

Homeless families living in Tallaght are assessed on a case-by-case basis at South Dublin County Council's homeless clinic.

"If homeless priority is granted, families would either be accommodated in a homeless hub (where availability exists) or granted self-accommodate," a council spokesperson said.

"Self-accommodate allows applicants to self-source hotel accommodation on a short-term basis. If a family cannot source hotel accommodation, a freephone number is supplied and families can access accommodation through the family intake team on a night by night basis.

"All efforts are made to ensure families have accommodation on a temporary basis until more permanent arrangements can be put in place."

The pictures of Ms Cash's children sleeping in Tallaght garda station went viral and prompted a national debate about homeless services across the country.

The young mother has also been subjected to widespread criticism. Her Facebook page was mined for photographs that she shared of a box of beers and another of her posing beside her daughter in a communion gown, with members of the public sending her abusive messages.

Others remarked she has previously turned down the offer of a council house - a claim which she has denied.

Ms Cash says she is determined to use her situation to highlight the homeless crisis.

Irish Independent

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