Saturday 25 May 2019

Options running out for family on cusp of eviction

Gary and Rhona Breen from Ballycanew
Gary and Rhona Breen from Ballycanew

Sara Gahan

A family of nine from north Wexford are faced with the agonising choice of either separating or moving to a house more than 70km away if they want to avoid being homeless.

Gary and Rhona Breen from Ballycanew have been frantically searching for accommodation since receiving the letter from a representative of a Dublin law firm in July stating they needed to vacate the premises in seven days. The High Court order for the repossession of the house had been issued against Gary and Rhona's landlord. Since then, the family have been living under the constant threat of being arrested for being in contravention of the court order and are waiting for the day that they are thrown out.

Despite their best efforts in securing a place to call home for themselves and their seven children ranging in age from seven to 23, Gary and Rhona now face the possibility of either being separated or moving to a home in New Ross district, which is 70 km away from their community.

'Emergency accommodation is currently full and we were told something might become available towards the end of summer,' said Gary. 'We might have to split up too because no where can accommodate all of us.'

Rhona would take the girls, while Gary would go with the boys.

'Our two eldest children have even offered to stay with friends or family so their younger siblings would get a chance to stay somewhere with their mother and father,' added Rhona.

To add to the pressure, Gary and Rhona said if they are left homeless or arrested, social care workers would have to intervene.

'We have tried everywhere for a house, between the Council and private rented premises, there is nothing,' said Gary. 'We understand why but where are we suppose to go when our time comes?'

The family still occupy the house in Ballycanew and are anxiously waiting for the day when they are thrown out when it is repossessed.

'The only house available to us for our family size is down south of Wexford,' said Gary and Rhona, who have been on the social housing list since 2009. 'But even at that Wexford County Council said we might not even get it due to first priority on the list.'

The family have been living in Ballycanew for more than 10 years. The children attend Ballycanew National School and Creagh College. One child is a member of the sporting community.

'We are willing to take the house if it becomes available to us but we would have to drive for more than an hour to drop the kids to school,' said Rhona.

Gorey Guardian