Homeless family left without anywhere to go as tourism season begins
Family, which includes four children, had to leave their emergency hotel accommodation
Josh Daly (22), holding Josh O’Connor-Daly (2), stands beside Jade O’Connor (26), Teegan O’Connor (8), Casey O’Connor (6), and Cillian O’Connor-Daly (3). Photograph: Jack Power
A homeless family, including four children, had to leave their emergency hotel accommodation in Dublin on Friday without knowing where they were going to spend the night.
Their booking in the hotel had ended, and the hotel was at capacity this weekend due to several large bookings for an international hockey tournament, and so could not accommodate the family.
The deputy chief executive of Dalata, the hotel group with which the family had been accommodated, has warned increased pressure may come on homelessness services as Dublin hotels were “going to be busier now” into the summer.
The young family had been staying in the Clayton Hotel Leopardstown for the past four weeks, but the last night of their booking was last Thursday.
Since Tuesday Josh Daly (22) had been calling hotels and B&Bs to try and line up accommodation, without success.
“I rang every hotel and B&B inside Dublin, I called around Meath and Lusk – everywhere was fully booked,” he told The Irish Times.
Josh and his partner Jade O’Connor (26), along with four children, have been living in emergency accommodation for the past 17 months. The children are aged two-, three-, six- and eight-years-old.
Failing to find a place in a hotel or B&B, he contacted South Dublin County Council, who referred him to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), who referred him back to the council, he said.
On Friday morning, failing to find a room anywhere, the family packed their bags and checked out of the hotel.
The family were put in contact with homelessness charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), which accommodated them on Friday night.
The charity is assisting two other homeless families from the South Dublin County Council area, who were also left without accommodation as private hotels were at capacity this weekend.
Impact on children
The disruption of constantly moving was having an impact on the four children, Mr Daly said.
“They’re calling hotel beds their home, that’s not fair . . . The kids haven’t had a proper meal, a proper cooked meal, and they’re just eating takeaways,” he said.
“The two younger lads are fine, but the girls know more, they would be crying themselves to sleep some nights,” Mr Daly said.
Anthony Flynn, chief executive of ICHH, said the charity had been “forced to step in” to accommodate the families, as hotels were full.
The stress on homeless families to self-accommodate and find their own hotel rooms was leading to “increased pressure on their mental health”, he said.
Stephen McNally, deputy chief executive of Dalata, the hotel group which owns the Clayton chain, warned that Dublin hotels were “going to be busier now” into the summer.
“It’s just like any other business, when there’s no space available, there’s no space available,” he said.
Hotels could only take bookings for homeless families for a short number of days or weeks, and often were unable to rebook them afterwards due to other commitments, he said.
There was inaccurate “sensationalising going on” claiming families were being kicked out of hotels, due to the busy tourist season starting, he said.
“Dublin by its nature will always have nearly full occupancy from February into November,” he said.
“The council will have to up their game, they should know from the experience of last summer.
“It is a terribly unfortunate situation . . . Hotels were never meant to house homeless,” he added.
A spokeswoman from the DRHE, which co-ordinates the response to homelessness across the Dublin councils, said families are made aware when booked into hotels that the “duration of their stay is time-limited”.
The spokeswoman said homelessness services were not having difficulty placing families in private hotels, despite the start of the tourism season.