herald

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Family's hell in council flat that has no bedroom

Frustration: Annmarie Gannon with partner Joe Dunne and daughter Ellie in cramped flat in Drimnagh. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Frustration: Annmarie Gannon with partner Joe Dunne and daughter Ellie in cramped flat in Drimnagh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

DUBLIN City Council is housing this family in a cramped flat that doesn't even have a bedroom.

Annmarie Gannon (31) and her partner Joe Dunne (25) say they have pleaded with the council for a bigger flat but to no avail.

Both work flexi-contract hours in a local shopping centre in Crumlin but cannot afford a place of their own.

So they spend their time squashed into their little living-room in Davitt House in Drimnagh with their bed and daughter Ellie's cot taking up most of their living space.

Joe stores his clothes folded on top of the cooker in the tiny kitchen so that he can get dressed there in the morning without waking Annmarie or nine-month-old Ellie.

"The bizarre thing is that people have said if I forced Joe to leave and then stopped working I would get the unmarried mother's book and rent allowance after three months and I could be moved to somewhere bigger.

"But we don't want to tell lies to get somewhere else, we are working hard and being open and honest with the council, but they don't seem to understand how critical our situation is," Annmarie told the Herald.

"I moved in here on April 1, 2010 and it is okay for one person, two at the maximum.

Transfers

"Then Joe moved in during February 2012, but it was when Ellie arrived that we really felt the lack of space," she added.

Joe added: "The council uses a banding system for transfers instead of points now, and Band 1 gets priority, which is people who need to be moved on medical grounds.

"Band 2 is people in overcrowded situations, and that is where we are now, but we still can't get a bigger place no matter how hard we try and explain things.

We're not looking for a house or anything, just somewhere with enough bedrooms for us," said Annmarie.

Joe explained: "The council call this a one-bedroom flat, but the bed is in the living area.

"The majority of the other flats this size in Davitt House have just one person in them, but there are three of us here with a cot and high chair and all the other things that babies need.

"I have cried about it when it gets on top of me," said Annmarie. "The way the council is ignoring us is absolutely scandalous because we are aware of how many vacancies they have but they are unwilling to move us."

Local Labour councillor Michael O'Sullivan said that Annmarie and Joe's situation highlights the shortage of social housing in Dublin.

Unacceptable

"The delays are totally unacceptable and their situation highlights a number of issues that need to be addressed," he said.

"The housing supply is a national problem that needs central Government resources, but we also need to look at aiming towards a society where people can earn a living wage instead of a minimum wage," he added.

"They are not looking for the sun and the stars, just a place to live that has bedrooms for their family."

Dublin City Council said it does not comment on individual cases.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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