herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

I'm living on three slices of bread, says disabled mum in plea for State help

A DUBLIN mum who has suffered three strokes broke down in tears today as she asked: "Does the State just want me to die?"

Marie Butler (58) from West Dublin claims she has waited over a year to receive her first disability allowance and is "frightened, frozen and hungry" in her own home.

The mum-of-one has been out of work for several months having suffered her third stroke in July.

She has poor movement in the right side of her face and is unable to lift things due to a lack of strength in her fingers and arms.

However, despite her deteriorating condition, Marie claims she has yet to secure disability allowance which has "driven my family to poverty".

The former cleaner says she has been living without heating for several weeks -- which she says leaves her terrified to go to bed each night.

And speaking to the Herald from her home in Clondalkin, Marie showed us that she had just three slices of bread in the house which had to last her and her son all week.

"I've never been at such a low point in my life. I've worked all my life but to show you my bare food cupboards and my €2 bank balance, things just can't get any worse.



Handouts

"I've sent in all my forms to get disability allowance and I keep getting told there's a delay."

She added: "The worst part of it all is that we cannot afford heat. I'm out of work and relying on a measly sick payment each week. I'm behind in bills.

"The house is just freezing, I'm terrifed going to bed at night as it's so cold. Does the State just want me to die?"

Marie broke down in tears at several points during the interview. She said she had to rely on "handouts from St Vincent de Paul" at Christmas which was "the hardest thing imaginable".

Marie's doctor and local social welfare office have produced letters calling for her to be given disability allowance.

Her son John (32) - who is pictured with her - told the Herald that it "hurts" to see his mother so devastated.

"We just want the department to realise that Mam's papers are in order, she's given them everything they've asked for and she cannot cope like this. It's just heartbreaking to see her like that. We may be broke, but she always has me and I'll always be there for her."

A spokesperson for the Department said it would not comment on individual cases.

hnews@herald.ie

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