Homeless family of nine placed in three hotels in three counties

Tullamore parents Michelle and Patrick O’Brien have seven children under 14

A homeless family in the Midlands has been placed in three separate hotels, in three different counties, since Monday.

Michelle and Patrick O’Brien and their seven children, aged between three and 14, have been without permanent accommodation since June 2018. This week they have stayed in hotels in Co Offaly, Co Meath and Co Westmeath.

From Tullamore, Co Offaly, they were initially placed in a hotel there. In early May, Offaly County Council moved them to a hotel in Banagher – almost 40km and a 40-minute drive from the children's schools.

On Monday the Banagher hotel manager asked them to leave as he was taking in asylum seekers. He has confirmed this, adding he had made efforts to help them get housing and they parted on good terms.

Peter McVerry Trust

Local council housing staff spent most of Monday trying to find accommodation for the family. At about 5pm, the Peter McVerry Trust sourced a hotel in Trim, Co Meath, for three nights.

On Thursday morning, the charity told Ms O'Brien they were inquiring about hotels in Co Laois, Co Tipperary and Co Westmeath.

"They called me about 2pm and said they had a hotel for us in Mullingar, until Monday and a €30 voucher for diesel. I don't know what we are going to do after . . . We are tired," she said. (Read Michelle's story here)

A spokeswoman for the Peter McVerry Trust said she could not comment on the family’s case. “Ordinarily, emergency accommodation would be sourced in one place pending the identification of suitable housing,” she said.

“However this is not always possible due to factors such as family size and the availability of appropriate emergency accommodation, particularly during the holiday season.”

Offaly County Council said it could not comment on an individual case.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times