'There are days I don't eat' - Student teacher and mum-of-two 'going without food' in bid to save for house deposit
A mother-of-two is going without food to try to save the deposit for a rented house - if she can find one.
Nadine Mulligan (28) and her two children, one a newborn just out of intensive care, face losing their current rented home after the trainee teacher learned it was to be repossessed "in a matter of weeks".
She has been on the housing waiting list in Co Louth for nearly eight years and has been in the same rented house in Dundalk for the past five years.
"This property is due to be repossessed and I find myself facing homelessness in a matter of weeks," said Ms Mulligan.
"I've tried to find alternative accommodation, but there's a lack of housing in the rental sector within Dundalk.
"I've enquired about approximately 40 houses, been to view almost 10 and have not heard back from the remainder. Of the houses I did view, I didn't get them, for whatever reason."
Ms Mulligan, who is about to start her final year training as a primary teacher, said she had now registered as homeless.
On top of this, her son, Liam, who is only nine weeks old, has a serious health problem and has just come out of intensive care.
He has been diagnosed with an enlarged kidney and pancreas and needs ongoing care.
Ms Mulligan's other son, Jamie-Lee (8), is also waiting for surgery for an abdominal condition.
"I'm at a loss as to what to do for my family," she said.
"My newborn son and his brother can't be homeless. The baby is just out of ICU and his older brother, he's only eight.
"He's unaware of our plight. I don't want an eight-year-old to be worrying about such grown-up things."
Ms Mulligan cannot return to her parents as they have only a boxroom and she is desperately searching for a new home before she has to leave her house in Glenmore Park on September 23.
"Where do I go from here? What are the solutions available to me and my family?" she said.
"It will cost an initial €2,000 or more to move into a house - that is if I actually get accepted to one by a landlord.
"How can any single parent afford this, never mind one who is also a student?
"I'm having to save every penny I have. This means that there are days when I don't eat because I can't afford to do a week's shopping.
"I just get the essentials in to make sure the children are looked after for the week.
"I can't afford my son's schoolbooks and I can't even afford a cot for my newborn."
Ms Mulligan said Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy should "take a long, hard look at the people all over this country who are crying out for help, crying out for a place to lay their head at night".
"It is a national scandal that it has got this bad," she added.
A spokesperson for Louth County Council said: "It is not our policy to comment on individual cases, but the average waiting time on the social housing list for the Dundalk area is eight to nine years.
"Choice-based letting has been fully introduced in Louth."