Cork mother shares home with four generations as rents rise

Leanne O’Callaghan (20) lives at her grandfather’s house after being priced out of city

Leanne O’Callaghan (20) and son Aaron at her grandfather’s home in Gurranabraher, Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Leanne O’Callaghan (20) and son Aaron at her grandfather’s home in Gurranabraher, Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

 

A Cork mother who cannot afford to rent is sharing the family home with four generations.

Leanne O’Callaghan (20) is living at her grandfather’s home in Gurranbraher with her mother, two siblings and her son who turns one this weekend.

Rents in Cork city have risen 10.4 per cent over the past year, the sharpest rise in the country. The average monthly rent is now €889.

Ms O’Callaghan was renting a two-bed home for €625 on the Commons Road in Cork prior to moving back to the family home.

She says she was advised by her doctor to stop working when she was eight months pregnant with her son Aaron, and subsequently could not afford the rent.

“I was borrowing from everyone, my grandfather, my family, friends, but I was running out of people to ask,” she said.

Ms O’Callaghan had not been working as a care assistant at a nursing home long enough to secure maternity payment.

She shares the three-bed terraced home, including a galley kitchen and living room and one downstairs bathroom, with her grandfather, her mother, her brother (4), sister (13) and baby Aaron.

“There’s no house that I could afford. My rent allowance is €700 but the cheapest rent is €800-€900.

“There’s an empty house nearby that has been refused by others on the housing list but when I asked the council about it they said I was too far down the list.”

Housing list

The Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Chris O’Leary, said it could take 45 years to clear the housing list at the current rate. Official council figures show between 8,500 and 9,000 on Cork City Council’s housing list.

“That equates to 27,000 people. At the current rate, it could take 45 years before we clear the list going by the allocations made on a monthly basis.”

Paul Sheehan of Cork Simon says nothing was being done to address the “core problem”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, he said 211 people have been found sleeping rough in Cork this year, up from a total of 38 in 2011.