Homeless mother criticises 'horrible' reaction to family sleeping at Garda station
Margaret Cash condemns social media response to the incident
A homeless mother-of-seven who stayed overnight in Tallaght Garda station alongside six of her children on Wednesday has said she is ashamed they had to sleep in such conditions but described some of the social media reaction to the event as “horrible”.
Margaret Cash (28), a member of the Traveller community, and six of her children – aged between one and 11 years – stayed at the Dublin station after emergency homeless services were unable to find suitable accommodation for them for the night.
She circulated pictures of her children sleeping on seats in the station on social media.
Ms Cash, originally from Ballycragh, Tallaght, has since been provided with temporary accommodation by the Inner City Helping Homeless group until Monday.
“The comments on social media have been horrible, they have no idea what it’s like,” she told The Irish Times on Friday.
“People were saying I should be ashamed, but I am ashamed. I don’t need to be told that because I am ashamed that I have to have my kids sleeping in conditions like that. But what was I supposed to do, it was either that or sleep on the streets.”
Ms Cash became homeless last September after the private house she was renting was repossessed. She has been living in emergency accommodation ever since. She was informed by Focus Ireland at 8pm on Wednesday that they had been unable to secure emergency accommodation and that she should present herself as homeless at Tallaght Garda station.
Ms Cash said that upon arriving at the Garda station, Focus Ireland got in touch again to offer her a room for five people for the night in Co Meath.
“I don’t have a car and what was I supposed to do – leave some of them behind?” she said.
Ms Cash denied claims she had previously been offered social housing by a local authority and also defended photographs previously posted on her Facebook page of her daughter’s Communion dress and a crate of beer.
“I have never been offered a house by any council ever. I have never been offered any council property. Where anybody is hearing this I don’t know,” she said.
“As for the pictures – I got a box of beer for €16 and I had a few drinks with an old friend of mine. What’s the big deal? You have to live your life and try and make the best of everything you can.
“My daughter made her Communion. Yes she had a nice big dress. The price of a dress is not going to get me a house. I paid that off out of my dole and my child benefit, bit by bit, in the months coming up to her making her Communion.
“I was almost the whole year paying for that dress, preparing for that Communion. I did the best for my daughter. I’ve only got one little girl. Of course I’m going to try and spoil her.”
Ms Cash and her family are currently staying in a two-bedroom apartment in the city centre provided for by the Inner City Helping Homeless group.
“The apartment is lovely and clean, the kids slept very comfortably last night, so did I. I’m just dreading now what’s to come on Monday when we have to leave it,” she said. “I just don’t know, all we can do is hope at this stage.”