Saturday 25 May 2019

Family of seven forced to sleep in car after vacating repossessed rental home

Family now living in temporary emergency accommodation

Gary and Rhona Breen pictured with their children, Jody, Keith, Holly, Gary and Caithlin at Gorey Civic Square
Gary and Rhona Breen pictured with their children, Jody, Keith, Holly, Gary and Caithlin at Gorey Civic Square

Sara Gahan

A couple and their five young children from Ballycanew were forced to sleep in their car last Wednesday night after they finally bowed to pressure to vacate their rented home.

Gary and Rhona Breen, along with their children aged between seven and 14, set up camp in Gorey Civic Square after being evicted from their home of ten years last Wednesday afternoon due to a High Court order for the repossession of the house issued against Gary and Rhona's landlord on July 26 - which also stated the family had seven days to vacate the premises.

As a result, Wexford County Council assigned the family temporary emergency accommodation in Riverchapel last Thursday morning. Rhona said they signed a contract for the month and will live in the four-bed house until the Council find a more suitable and permanent home for them.

The Breens' solicitor called last Wednesday morning to say they needed to leave the house immediately as they could be arrested very soon for still occupying the property after being served the notice four months ago.

'There was no emergency accommodation available for us on Wednesday night,' said Gary. 'We had no other choice but to sleep in the car as we didn't want to be arrested, nor our children taken off us.'

Gary, who suffers with a heart condition, said it was a very cold night and they got little to no sleep.

When it came to packing up and leaving their home of ten years, the kids got very upset and distressed. 'They don't fully get what is going on and didn't want to leave their home,' added Gary.

Since July, the couple have been searching for somewhere to call home. The family have been on Wexford County Council's housing list since 2009, but when they contacted the local authority with their situation in July they were told that no suitable housing was available for a large family.

In September, Gary said Wexford County Council told them a house had become available for them in south Wexford which was more than 70km away from Gorey. The couple said they were more than happy to take it, but the plan fell through.

They have tried everywhere for a house - between the Council and private rented premises there is nothing suitable for them.

Gary and Rhona have been living in north Wexford for more than 13 years. The children attend Ballycanew National School and Creagh College. One child is a strong member of the sporting community.

'I would like to thank all the people who came forward to help us last week,' said Gary. 'The ordinary people have done a lot more for us than any councillors or TDs.'

Gorey Guardian