‘I have been constantly begging for help’ - Margaret Cash on being homeless

Mother-of-seven given three-bed apartment on trial basis

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.

 

Margaret Cash has been homeless for a year and has been “constantly begging for help”, she said on Thursday, a week after the mother-of-seven came to prominence after sleeping in a Garda station with her children.

Ms Cash (28) said she had now been allocated a three-bedroom apartment in Dublin “for a week’s trial and then a monthly basis”, which she described as “a great improvement”.

However, she hit out at politicians saying: “No one contacted me, they don’t care about me, they’re comfortable in their own homes, they’re fair sorted.

“What gives them the right to think this is ok? I was born and reared here. Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home. I have an awful lot of anger for them (politicians),” she told RTÉ’s Today with Miriam radio programme.

Margaret Cash and six of her children slept in Tallaght Garda station last week.
Margaret Cash and six of her children slept in Tallaght Garda station last week.

Ms Cash and six of her children – aged between one and 11 years – stayed at Tallaght station on Wednesday August 8th last, 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 was later provided with temporary emergency accommodation.

The 28-year-old said she had lived in caravans for much of her life, left school at the age of 12 and got married at 15. She moved to rented accommodation when her children reached school-going age and with the assistance of Focus Ireland secured a house for three years before it was repossessed by a bank.

“We’ve been homeless for a year. For that year I’ve been constantly begging for help,” she added.

She said it was wrong that some people had to wait 13 years for a home. “I’ve met hundreds of families in the same situation as me. There are lots of homeless mothers out there walking around Dublin city trying to find some place to go.

Ms Cash rejected criticism that she was irresponsible to have so many children when she could not afford to do so. “I love my kids, I wouldn’t change them for the world or for a home. I don’t care what people say.

“I got some negative responses . It’s hard when you know you haven’t done anything wrong. I’m entitled to live my life, I’m entitled to buy my daughter a communion dress and to go for a few drinks with friends.

“I never said I was poor. I said I was homeless. I get benefits the same as everyone else. I just haven’t got enough to get a home.

“I saved hard to get my child that dress. I tried to make people aware of what’s going on in this country,” she added, referring to criticism by some on social media over the cost of her daughter’s First Holy Communion dress.

When asked about comments by Dublin Regional Housing Executive that she had rejected emergency accommodation the night she brought her children to Tallaght Garda station, she said that Focus Ireland had phoned her while she was in the station offering her a room that would sleep five, but it was in Co Meath. It would have been 1am by the time she got there and she did not think it was worth the time it would take to get there as they would have to leave at 9am.

Her children were ashamed they were homeless and sometimes blamed her, she said. “I feel disgusted. Why is this me? Why is this happening to me? I know it sounds selfish, but I’m feeling it for my family.

“All I’m thinking about is getting a home for my kids, to raise them and then sort out myself.”

She pointed out that her children had not missed a day of school despite the difficulties they faced. On one occasion she had brought them to school in Tallaght from Ashford in Co Wicklow, taking two buses to make sure they could attend school.

“Once they’re ok, I’m ok. I’m always hopeful, that’s the only thing that keeps you going. All you can do is your best.”

Yesterday Ms Cash was informed that Dublin City Council will provide a three bed apartment in the city on a week’s trial and after that on a monthly basis.

“I’m really happy,” she said.