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Family who spent night at garda station secure temporary accommodation after 'traumatic few days'

Margaret Cash and six of her children had to spend last night in Tallaght Garda Station.

The children who slept in Tallaght Garda Station last night.
The children who slept in Tallaght Garda Station last night.
Image: ICHH

PRIVATE EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION has been sourced for a family who had to spend last night in Tallaght Garda Station in Dublin after failing to secure emergency accommodation.

Anthony Flynn, CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), said the organisation is paying for the city centre accommodation.

Margaret Cash (28) and six of her children, aged from one to 11, are expected to remain there until Monday. Another one of her children is staying with a family friend, having recently been released from hospital after suffering from a viral infection.

The fact that the family had to spend the night sleeping on chairs in a garda station has been widely condemned today.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening, Flynn said the family have experienced “a traumatic couple of days” and “an awful lot of distress”.

He said, despite this, Margaret is trying to stay positive.

“They’re settled in, the kids have some decent food in their stomachs – takeaways had been the norm for a while. They were moving from there to garda stations. We’re trying to get them a little bit of stability.”

Margaret, who is from Tallaght, said she became homeless last September after the private house she was renting was repossessed.

Flynn said Margaret was offered accommodation in Meath at 10pm yesterday but would have had to leave one of her children behind due to space constraints – something she was unwilling to do.

South Dublin County Council earlier said in a statement that families are assessed on a case-by-case basis at a homeless clinic.

“If homeless priority is granted, families would either be accommodated in a homeless home (where availability exists) or granted self-accommodation,” the statement said.

Self-accommodation allows applicants to self-source hotel accommodation on a short-term basis, according to the council.

If a family cannot source hotel accommodation, a freephone number is supplied and families can access accommodation through the family intake team on a night-by-night basis.

“All efforts are made to ensure families have accommodation on a temporary basis until more permanent arrangements can be put in place.”

Almost 10,000 homeless people 

Dublin Region Homeless Executive said that last night “an unprecedented number of families presented out-of-hours seeking emergency accommodation”.

The Department of Housing said in a statement that “addressing homelessness is a priority for this government and we are absolutely committed to increasing the delivery of housing to ensure that we can deliver solutions for those experiencing homelessness”.

Given the continuing number of families presenting to homeless services, as well as the continuing use of hotels, Minister Murphy commenced a Rapid Hub Programme in early January that will see additional family hub places added to the existing hubs.

The Department later added that Minister Murphy has spoken with DRHE and they have confirmed that they are reviewing the processes in place for those who present late at night in need of emergency accommodation.

“Emergency accommodation was available last night but there is clearly urgent need for better communication between the DRHE, our Partner Organisations and State Agencies to ensure families can be accommodated at short notice when they present.”

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show that 9,872 people were in emergency accommodation during the week of 18-24 June, an increase of 26 people compared with the previous month.

The figure includes 6,048 adults and 3,824 children.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin 

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