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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Good Samaritan saves mum and three kids from living in their car

Sabrina McMahon’s story is not an unusual one, TD Catherine Murphy has said.

AN IRISH MOTHER who was living in a car for a week with her three children is now staying in a hotel, thanks to a good Samaritan.

Sabrina’s story

Sabrina McMahon (36) says she cannot find rental housing in Dublin with rent allowance, and does not want to return to Athy where the house she was planning to buy is now unlivable in.

In an interview with Niall Boylan on 4FM (below), McMahon said that a good Samaritan had come to her aid, meaning she and her children – who are five, three, and 18 months old – could leave the car and move into a Bewley’s Hotel.

A native Dubliner, she told Boylan that she moved up to Kildare nine and a half years ago.

After she and her boyfriend broke up, she went to her father’s home in Dublin for Christmas. She said that when she returned to Athy, her house had been vandalised and she could not live in it.

Rent allowance

She has been on the council list for over a year now and said that “no landlords will accept rent allowance” so the family “haven’t been able to find anywhere to live”.

She said that the homeless unit have advised her to return to Athy, as this was her last permanent address, and to try and rent a house there.

However, she does not want to do this as she is “isolated up there” in Athy.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen from here,” she said, adding that her friends and family are not allowed to have her stay with them as they are also paying rent allowance.

She is in the hotel for the next month.

“I’m just glad to have a roof over our heads again,” said McMahon. “I’m still looking for rented accommodation.”

BloodBoylan / SoundCloud

Homelessness in Ireland

TD Catherine Murphy told that McMahon is not alone in her experience.

“We’re going to see more of this unless government takes action,” she said today.

I’m coming across, and have been coming across, increasing numbers of homeless families, families that are at risk of homelessness. Over the last months it has been escalating.

She said this “was quite predictable” and that rents are increasing very significantly and there is a shortage of rental accommodation.

“What is happening is that people who can least afford the rents are the ones that are being squeezed,” said Murphy.


She said that the solution is “not something that is going to be magicked up overnight”

One short-term solution would be the relaxation of rent caps by the Department of Social Protection, said Murphy.

“There certainly has to be some additional houses built,” she added. “But there are solutions that don’t necessarily call on the public purse. There is a huge amount of money to be drawn down from the European Investment Bank to build houses for rent, but there’s logjams here that we have to address.”

Read: Buy to let landlords problems affecting family homes – Threshold>

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