Woman says she will go back to living in car with kids next week

A mother who has been living in a hotel after it was found she had been living in her car with three young children, has until next week to find accommodation.

Sabrina McMahon - and her three children aged five, three and 18 months - has been told she would have to wait nine years for social housing.

She moved back to Tallaght in south Dublin from Co Kildare after her relationship with the children's father broke down over a year ago.

After being given a hotel room, 36-year-old Sabrina has until Friday, May 23, before she has to leave the hotel and go back to living in the car.

She has told Niall Boylan on Classic Hits 4FM that she is afraid to move back to her house in Athy, Co Kildare, because her house has been "taken over by junkies".

Since leaving Athy, she says that she has stayed with her family and friends, but she doesn't get on with them now, which means she will be forced to stay in her car again.

Below is a transcript of Niall Boylan's interview with Sabrina McMahon. (NB = Niall Boylan & SMM = Sabrina McMahon)

NB: How did you find yourself in this position in the first place?

SMM: It would be nine and a half years ago that I’m back in Dublin. I was in Athy for seven years, the house was broken into. I have all the paperwork, the paperwork from Guards, the pictures that the house had been taken over by junkies.

NB: What do you say to the newspapers that say that wasn’t the truth at all? That there was no burglary, that the house seemed to be fine...what do you say to that?

SMM: I hadn’t even spoken to that paper. They came up and took a photo of the house and it looks perfect... Cllr Maire Devine, who has been dealing with me for the past two and a half years is trying to fight my case, she kept the paperwork for me and all the photographs, heroine that had been used beside my bed, the kids drawers that had been upended and all, the whole house was taken over. I had to climb over a window when I was made go up and collect my payments for a couple of months

NB: Could the guards not get these people out of your house?

SMM: No, they were just going in and out of the house as far as I know...the door was locked but they were able to get in to a little back window that was in the back of the house. I don’t know how they were doing it.

NB: When you went back to Tallaght, what was your situation then?

SMM: I was staying in my mother’s; my father’s my sister’s, my friend’s...all over the place. And now next week we're moving out of the hotel, even though the room is going to be free. I can’t see why they can’t put us up in that room when it’s going to be left vacant. I don’t know why they can’t continue paying for the room. There are 37 families down there in that hotel.

NB: You’ve been on the housing list for the past year or so and your problem is not that you can’t get a house in Dublin... but you want a house in Tallaght.

SMM: [The council] told me to look for a one or two bedroom anywhere. I’ve gone down to Inchicore, everywhere, somewhere I can get my kids to school in Tallaght cause that’s where they go to school...not one of them will take four people and they said they’d be over-crowded.

NB: You’ve told us if you don’t get something by next Friday you’re going to start living in your car again...

SMM: Yeah, that's basically what I'm going to do

NB: The criticism here is you have three young children. How are these kids going to go to school, how are they being fed, how are they being looked after when there is an option there of going back to Kildare...but that’s what you don’t want to do.

SMM: Not after the house being broken into. I feel threatened down in Kildare, I’m isolated down in Kildare... the garda actually told me not to go back to the house, that they would try and catch the people and they never caught them...they had the backdoor key and they had barred me out of the front door.

NB: The other suggestion in the paper at the time was you had said your partner walked out on you, the papers suggested your partner had gone to jail.

SMM: The paper said the right name but he was not a settled traveller, he didn’t do any bank robbery...no he wasn’t in jail... it was a totally different person they were talking about.

NB: Why Tallaght?

SMM: Basically I’m 36 years old and I was born and raised in Tallaght.

NB: Could your family not help you in the interim?

SMM: If I go back to any of my family I’m going to be put on their rent and I’m never going to be housed.

NB: What you want the council to do now is put you on the homeless list, not on the housing list?

SMM: Yes, we’d probably be put in a hostel. Many families have to do that... I don’t get along with my family and at this stage, with three small kids, if there was anyone out there who would take me and my three small kids I’d gladly go with them.

NB: Would you not rather go back to the house and try and make a home out of it just until you get it sorted rather than having three very young children living in a car?

SMM: Definitely not. The house was broken into. If you seen the pictures that I have you’d understand... my son would not go back to the house.

NB: But what do your kids think about living in a car?

SMM: they’re happy with their mother. They have me and that’s all they’ll ever have for the rest of their lives... me.

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