herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

'Homeless crisis killed my girl'

Homeless mum Danielle took her own life in the hotel room where she was living. Conor Feehan spoke to her stunned loved ones

Grieving mum Margaret with treasured photos of her daughter Danielle and her two boys
Grieving mum Margaret with treasured photos of her daughter Danielle and her two boys

A homeless young mum took her own life after the council offered her a home - only to then withdraw it and substitute another property, heartbroken relatives revealed yesterday.

Danielle Carroll (27) begged South Dublin County Council, telling them she feared she would end up dead, according to a family friend.

Tragically, Danielle, mother of boys DJ (7) and Carter (20 months), was found dead in the room where she was staying in emergency accommodation on Wednesday.

Her mother Margaret told the Herald she despaired of finding a suitable home for herself and the children - then the council offered her a bungalow in Glenshane Lawns, Tallaght.

"It was a boarded-up house and Danielle knew the previous tenant in it had taken her own life in the house," she said.

Danielle Carroll
Danielle Carroll

"She was that desperate to have somewhere to live that she accepted it and was finally looking forward to moving in - only for her hopes to be dashed," Margaret said at her home in Tallaght.

Letter

"She got a letter from the council on Wednesday the week before, to say they were withdrawing that offer and substituting it with a different place in the Meile An Ri estate, in Lucan, but when she saw it she was horrified," her best friend Linda Woods added.

"The back door was burned, where someone had set fire to it, and there had been people sleeping rough in it.

"She also said there was a lot of anti-social behaviour and she didn't want to bring the boys up there.

"She thought she would be going backwards.

"She said the council told her if they did not accept it, she would lose her emergency accommodation.

The Tallaght house Danielle had been offered
The Tallaght house Danielle had been offered

"She pleaded with the council. She told them she'd end up dead, she told us too. She just couldn't take it."

A county council spokesman said it was asked by Danielle's family not to comment on the matter and wanted to respect that wish.

Ms Carroll's family told the Herald they are preparing for her funeral and how telling Danielle's oldest boy that his mother had gone to heaven was the hardest thing they had ever done.

"Danielle had been renting in Russell Square until just after last Christmas, when the owner sold the property," said Margaret. "She had been on the housing list with South Dublin County Council since she was pregnant with her son DJ.

"Then she was trying to find a place on the HAP scheme and got a room in the hotel in Leixlip, but she found it very difficult there because the room was small and she had no cooking or cleaning facilities and had to bring the baby here to wash him."

Staff at the hotel described Ms Carroll as a bubbly and friendly lady who was always with her children.

"She was a positive person and would always compliment the other mothers. She was a very kind and nice girl. May she rest in peace," said one worker.

Ms Carroll's friend Linda said she was always hopeful of eventually finding a place to live.

"She would say, 'All I want is a little house where my DJ and Carter can have their own beds', and she hoped that someday that would happen," said Linda.

"She was trying her best in the hotel room, but she had to drive from there every day back to Tallaght, where DJ is in school, and wash and feed Carter in her mother's house. It was very difficult," she added.

Anxiety

Margaret said Danielle became very down and was seeking help for her anxiety for a time.

"She felt it was a hopeless situation. She was struggling. She went off the rails with worry and she would say that nobody cared about her," said Margaret. "Danielle was paying off furniture and beds and things. Now we have had to tell the shop she's dead," she added.

Comforted by family and friends, next to a table and mantelpiece, Margaret drew solace from the photos of her youngest child and grandchildren.

"We had to tell DJ last night. How do you tell a seven-year-old boy he'll never see his mammy again?

"We're finding it hard enough to deal with and we are adults," she said.

"We told him she is in heaven and he just broke down crying.

"Danielle lived for her children. She adored them.

"I'll miss her not coming through the door. Instead of coming here with her boys she's going into a hole in the ground." she said through tears.

Neighbours in Glenshane, where Danielle's family said she had been offered the house, said the property should be knocked down because of its past.

"Two previous tenants took their own lives in it, and then yesterday we heard that the person who had been offered it had taken their life too. It's too tragic," said one man.

Danielle's family said whatever agencies are tasked with dealing with homelessness need to be aware that it is people, not numbers, they are dealing with.

Funeral

"There are others out there like Danielle," said Danielle's brother John.

"They are not statistics. They are people with feelings, people with young families."

Her funeral will take place on Monday after 11am Mass in The Church Of The Incarnation, Fettercairn.

People who wish to talk about their problems can contact The Samaritans on 116 123.

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