herald

Thursday 22 November 2018

Temporary flat for family who slept in a city garda station

Amy O'Reilly and her family now have a temporary home
Amy O'Reilly and her family now have a temporary home

A young family who slept in a garda station because of a lack of emergency beds have been given temporary accommodation.

Amy O'Reilly (27) told the Herald last week how she and her three children slept in Ballyfermot Garda Station because there was nowhere else to go.

"The council had originally told me there was no accommodation available," said Ms O'Reilly.

"However, after the Herald published my story, the council called to say I could have a flat in Ballsbridge for a week.

Uncertain

"I'm very relieved. But the future is very uncertain because we have to leave by Friday.

"We need a stable home, not a temporary one."

Amy released heartbreaking photos of her daughter, Kya (10), sleeping on a makeshift bed in an interview room at the garda station in a bid to highlight their plight.

After receiving news of the Ballsbridge flat, Amy said: "I just hope the council will extend our one-week stay until we can find somewhere permanent.

"I've been on the council's housing list for nine years now, so hopefully I might have a chance at getting one of those and I'd be near the children's schools."

The family was made homeless after a High Court ruling in December, when Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said Amy was not entitled to remain in the property on Cedar Brook Avenue, in Cherry Orchard, Dublin.

The house was subject to proceedings between its owner and a Bank of Ireland-appointed receiver.

Amy appeared before the court stating she could not understand what was taking place, and that she had been paying her rent.

"I never could have seen this happening. But I know there are hundreds just like me. It's devastating to see so many young children being constantly moved around, living in hostels and hotels," she said.

"Homeless families talk to each other, so we know how we are all being let down. I've heard of others who have had to stay in garda stations.

"I'm doing my best to hold things together for my children. They cry themselves to sleep, there's no order in their lives, it's just chaos.

"Homelessness is not a life for children."

Death

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has declined an invitation from an Oireachtas committee to discuss homelessness figures after accusations that statistics had been manipulated.

March figures showed the number of people living in emergency accommodation had dropped from 9,807 to 9,681.

It comes as the body of a homeless woman was found on Saturday morning in the grounds of St Michan's Church, Dublin 7.

Gardai said they are not treating the death as suspicious.

The body was found by a member of the public at 6am.

The 27-year-old woman was well-known to homeless and addiction services.

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