Family distraught over order to leave their accommodation

By Laura Lyne

A TALLAGHT mother whose family has been “evicted” from their emergency accommodation has said she is “sick” that her family were told to leave with “no warning” due to health and safety concerns.

Sabrina Dempsey, who is originally from Tallaght, has been living in a guesthouse in Rathgar with her family for the past five months, and was among 14 families who were asked to leave their emergency accommodation on Tuesday.

Sabrina Dempsey June 2016

Her family will now be accommodated in a Tallaght hotel, joining 112 families that are accommodated in hotels and B&Bs across the county, with over €2 million available to South Dublin County Council for its homeless budget in 2016.

Speaking to The Echo, Sabrina said: “We woke up to be told that we’re getting evicted. Everyone has been up all night, crying. There was no warning.

“The rooms had all just been painted, there were floors being put down. I’ve been here for five months and it’s been a great place to live.

“Then this morning we received a letter to tell us that we’re not being evicted, that we’re being removed for health and safety reasons.

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“We’ve been offered a hotel room in the Tallaght area, and I’d rather take my chances with that then go to a place out in somewhere like Clonskeagh, which I’ve been offered.

“I’m absolutely sick that we have to leave – there’s going to be nowhere for the kids. We came from a hotel to here, and it’s a great place, the staff have been so lovely to us. To go back to Tallaght to a hotel, it’s very hard.”

Deborah McDonald, who was also a resident in the guesthouse alongside Sabrina and suffers from chronic long-term lung disease (emphysema), told The Echo that the sudden change in accommodation has left her “mentally drained”.

She said: “I’m very sick and on a breathing machine, I’ve spent the past three years practically in bed because I can’t walk very far.

“A hotel isn’t good for the standard of care that I need – my head is all twisted, I’m mentally drained.

“Nobody is taking notice of all the doctor’s letters I’ve been getting recently, saying that my care is urgent. They’re not being heard, I’ve got no rights.”

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council told The Echo: “Dublin City Council have been providing emergency accommodation in the premises for 14 families that originate from the Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council administrative areas.

“Dublin City Council Homeless Central Placement Service are working with the relevant local authorities to confirm alternative placements into emergency accommodation for the families concerned.

“It is important to note that the City Council are not evicting families but are exercising their dutyof care to families, as the decision to move families arises out of health and safety concerns in relation to the premises. 

“The City Council also have Homeless Action Teams providing supports onsite to the families.”

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