Homeless mother rejects ‘totally unsuitable’ accommodation

Margaret Cash who slept in Garda station with children would have to leave premises at 10am

Margaret Cash and six of her children - aged between one and 11 - stayed at Tallaght Garda station after emergency homeless services were unable to find beds for them.

 

A homeless mother-of-seven who had to stay in Tallaght Garda station last week with six of her children has rejected an offer of emergency accommodation for Monday night by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) as it is “totally unsuitable”.

Margaret Cash (28) and six of her children – aged between one and 11 years – stayed at the station on Wednesday after emergency homeless services were unable to find suitable accommodation for them for the night.

Ms Cash, originally from Tallaght and a member of the Traveller community, circulated pictures of her children sleeping on seats in the station on social media.

She has been provided with temporary emergency accommodation by the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) group since Thursday.

Anthony Flynn, chief executive of the group, said Ms Cash was offered a room by South Dublin County Council on Monday for that night only but that she rejected the accommodation.

Totally unsuitable

“It is totally unsuitable that she would have to transfer all her belongings to that unit for one night with seven children and then be made homeless again tomorrow and go through all the process again,” Mr Flynn told The Irish Times .

“You’re throwing these children back on to the streets in the morning to go through this process again. This is what’s happened before, Margaret has gone through this process for a full year and that’s how she ended up in that situation [last week].

“What’s to say Margaret’s not going to end up in that situation this week if she’s only getting night by night offers. It’s not suitable to her needs.” Mr Flynn said a more suitable offer of emergency accommodation would have been for at least a few days or a week.

Continuous basis

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive said emergency accommodation was being offered to the family on a “continuous basis” until alternative emergency could be found. The Executive said the Cash family would have to leave the premises at 10am each morning and could return each evening.

However it said the family would “return to the same place every evening, until an alternative is sourced” and it was accommodation the family had stayed in previously.

“We really appreciate how difficult this situation is for Ms Cash and her family and both the DRHE and SDCC are working very hard to find alternative emergency accommodation for them, unfortunately considering the demands on the provision of emergency accommodation there is limited supply available to local authorities,” a spokesman for the Executive said.

Mr Flynn said the Inner City Helping Homeless group would continue to provide Ms Cash and her family with emergency accommodation until Wednesday and would then review her situation again.

“It’s upsetting for Margaret to go through the process that she’s going through. She’s ashamed at the fact that she’s homeless, she shouldn’t be but she is, and that she’s in this situation,” he said.

Requests

Mr Flynn said since Ms Cash’s situation came to light last week, the charity had received 215 requests from families who were in emergency accommodation seeking assistance, advice and support.

“There’s a major problem in this city, it’s only going to get worse,” Mr Flynn added.

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 last 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 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.