herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

'Temporary flat is no solution - Politicians don't care about us'

Margaret Cash with six of her children
Margaret Cash with six of her children

The family at the centre of a homeless scandal has been given a three-bedroom apartment.

Margaret Cash (28) made headline news when photos emerged showing six of her children - aged between one and 11 - sleeping on chairs in Tallaght Garda Station.

The young mum spent Wednesday last week at the station because no suitable accommodation could be found.

Ms Cash (28) and her family, who have been homeless for a year, have been given the Dublin apartment on "a week's trial, and then a monthly basis".

She described the move as "a great improvement".

The mother-of-seven said her children were "over the moon" but stressed it was a short-term solution. "We are definitely in a better situation than we were last week, but it is temporary. It doesn't solve things."

Prison

Speaking about social media comments about her decision to have seven children, Ms Cash said she "doesn't care" what people think.

"When you're a Traveller and you get married, you cook, clean and have kids," she said.

"I love that. I love my kids and I wouldn't change it for the world.

"I don't really care what people think."

Her former long-term partner, John McCarthy, is being held on remand at Cloverhill Prison.

He is facing charges of assault at Westmoreland Street on June 24, engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour and possessing an offensive weapon.

Ms Cash said she was raised in caravans by her aunt and got married when she was just 15.

Ms Cash spoke of the backlash against photos of her daughter in an elaborate communion dress.

"Being homeless and being poor are two different things," she told the RTE show Today With Miriam. "There's no one saying there's anyone poor here. What I'm saying is, I'm homeless. I haven't enough to get a home but I've enough to get me through the week.

"I saved hard to get my child that dress. And she was lovely. I think she was beautiful."

She said she found the negative responses difficult to deal with.

"It's hard when you know you haven't done anything wrong. I'm entitled to live my life, I'm entitled to buy my daughter a communion dress and to go for a few drinks with friends.

"I've met hundreds of families in the same situation. There are lots of homeless mothers out there walking around Dublin trying to find some place to go."

Inner City Helping Homeless has been working as an advocate for Ms Cash, and she thanked it for all the help it had provided.

However she was critical of politicians for the lack of support they had shown her.

"No one contacted me. They don't care about me. They're comfortable in their own homes. They're fair sorted.

Reared

"What gives them the right to think this is OK? I was born and reared here. Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home," she said.

The young mum added that she wants to be housed in Tallaght ultimately.

"That is where my family are from and that is where all my children's family and friends are," she said.

"We will take it as it comes, but we would ultimately want a house in Tallaght."

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