A family that fled their home in terror from intimidation and abuse, is now homeless.
The mother and four children are dispersed between relatives, taking shelter in overcrowded conditions.
One of her sons has been so traumatised that he has not attended school. A daughter has taken refuge with an older relative, but does not go outside.
“Only for relatives, we’d be on the road – but they have young families, so we keep moving,” the mother told the Limerick Post.
Gardai at Roxboro are aware of the facts that drove the family to flee from a housing estate.
Fear of retaliation forced this mother to leave her home in the early hours of the morning.
“I was living in the estate for over two years without any problems.
“My children were never in trouble, until one evening some children started kicking in my door and my teenage daughter went out to tell them to stop.
“Her younger brother also went out. They came back but a large crowd of fellows wearing hoodies and armed with baseball bats gathered outside”.
Missiles were thrown and the family barricaded themselves in.
Threats made have terrified the mother.
“The fear of what could happen rang in my ears and I just knew we couldn’t stay”.
Having informed city council’s housing department that she felt she had to vacate, she was initially encouraged to remain.
“I was then asked to furnish a letter from the Garda Siochana outlining the incident, in order to qualify for rent allowance for other accommodation, but when supplied, I was told it was not detailed enough so one was requested from the superintendent, which I bought to City Hall but even then, I wasn’t referred for rent allowance”.
Emergency accommodation was offered in a hostel, but declined on the grounds that this would prove disturbing for the children.
Cllr Ger Fahy says that cutbacks in HSE budgets are hindering payment of rent allowance to this mother.
“They are tightening up and while the gardai are willing to say the girl was intimidated, they don’t want to create a precedent. There is merit in her application as she and the family are in a dysfunctional situation, which can’t continue.
“I’m asking the HSE to accept the recommendation from the gardai, and there is also concern that under the Child Protection Act, the HSE has an obligation towards her children.
“I’ve spoken to the official handling the situation in City Hall who said that if the bureaucracy was changed, he could move on this”.