Credit: THE IRISH TIMES
A homeless mother-of-seven who stayed overnight in Tallaght Garda station last week with six of her children will remain in temporary emergency accommodation provided by the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) group.
Margaret Cash (28), a member of the Traveller community, and six of her children – aged between one and 11 – stayed at the station on Wednesday after emergency homeless services were unable to find suitable accommodation for them for the night.
Ms Cash, originally from Tallaght, circulated pictures of her children sleeping on seats in the station on social media.
Ms Cash was provided with temporary emergency accommodation by the ICHH group on Thursday and was due to leave this accommodation on Monday.
Anthony Flynn, chief executive of the group, told The Irish Times on Sunday it will continue to provide temporary emergency accommodation for Ms Cash and her children until the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) can “source and provide suitable alternative accommodation”.
He said: “The intervention by ICHH is unsustainable due to the considerable costs incurred by us accommodating multiple families who have presented to Garda stations recently.”
Mr Flynn said he has asked the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring to facilitate a meeting between the DRHE and himself, on behalf of Ms Cash.
Mr Flynn said 48 families spent the night at Garda stations last month, and 47 the month before that.
Ms Cash became homeless last September after the private house she was renting was repossessed. She has been living in emergency accommodation ever since. She was informed by Focus Ireland at 8pm last Wednesday that they had been unable to secure emergency accommodation and that she should present herself as homeless at Tallaght Garda station.
The DRHE is reviewing processes in place for those who present late at night in need of emergency accommodation.
It said it was not policy to refer families to Garda stations but that if accommodation cannot be sourced late at night, after all contingency capacity has been utilised, families are at times referred to stations by Focus Ireland for their safety and while efforts to source emergency accommodation continue.
In a statement last week, the Department of Housing said there was 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”.