Case study: ‘All I want is a place where I could make a future’

Nadine Garland (18) and her son Hunter have been living in a Dublin B&B for two months

Nadine Garland (18) and her one-year-old son, Hunter, have been living in a B&B in south Dublin for two months.

The smell of damp is noticeable on entering the room. It contains a double bed, wardrobe, small desk, locker, a sink and two-ring hob.

Tiles on the bathroom wall are broken, there are damp patches on the ceiling, spots of green mould on the bedroom walls and the radiator is leaking.

“Hunter has been sick since we came here, coughing. I have a fungal infection,” says Nadine, showing sores over her neck.


She lost her rented apartment in July, when her landlady decided to sell.

“I looked for somewhere else but they were all looking for up to €1,500 a month, and none took rent allowance.”

At homeless services she was told there was no emergency accommodation. She says that, for three nights, she left Hunter with a friend while she slept out.

“After three nights they told me to find a B&B and they would pay for it. They recommended trying here,” she says.

Asked about staying with family, she says: “My mam is good but she has her own problems.” She is in contact with Hunter’s father.

Lone-parent allowance

She gets €217.80 a week in lone-parent allowance. “All my money goes on bus fares, €25 a week on laundry, then nappies and food.

“I can’t store food here. I buy food from the chipper.

“I get up in the morning, go see friends and come back here about 7.”

She says other residents are active drug users and one family keeps a dog in their room.

“I hate it here,” she says.

“I cry myself to sleep. I have never felt so alone. I try not to get upset in front of Hunter but sometimes I can’t keep it in.

“He is stressed. His routine is gone and he doesn’t know what makes sense anymore.

“All I want is a place, where I could put Hunter in a crèche and I could go to college, do a course, make a future for us.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times