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25th Apr 2014

Irish Family Of Four Forced To Sleep In Their Car

The family have been living in their car for over a week.

Cathy Donohue

Sabrina McMahon and her three children have been living in their car for the past week, as they are unable to get emergency accommodation.

The mother-of-three moved to Tallaght from Athy, Co. Kildare, two years ago after her council house was broken into.

Since moving to Tallaght, Sabrina and her children Karl (5), Michaela (3) and 18-month-old Chelsea have been staying with both her mother and friends, moving from house to house on a regular basis.

Thirty six-year-old Sabrina told the Irish Examiner: “I have our suitcases in the car. We have been moving from house to house. Nobody could put us up anymore. They just won’t have us. My partner walked out two years ago”.

After approaching South Dublin’s County Council she was told finding emergency accommodation for her and her family would take another month.

“They told me I am a month out of qualifying for accommodation in the county and I can’t get emergency accommodation for another month,” said Sabrina.

“The council told me to go back to Kildare,” she said. “Kildare County Council told me that if I want to get on the homeless list there I have to come off the homeless list here.

“Why would I want to do that? South Dublin have said that I will qualify in a month.”

Sinn Féin councillor Máire Devine said that Sabrina’s situation reflects the plight of many more people in Ireland.

“This is not an isolated incident,” says Ms Devine. “It is becoming far more common. The homeless figures do not belie what is really happening. It all ties in together.

“It is not just people on social welfare. People who are working on low incomes and who are on JobBridge schemes or internships are affected too.

“There is less people with money in their pockets. There is talk about an upturn in the economy. If there is an upturn in the economy, I would like to see it.”