AN Ennis father has told of how his family spent Tuesday night sleeping in their car, after being made homeless. John Sweeney and his family have refused an offer by Clare County Council of a house in Kilrush, resulting in a refusal of welfare assistance for emergency accommodation.
However, Mr Sweeney claims that the accommodation offer was refused out of fear, alleging he was threatened in Kilrush. He said the family, including seven children ranging in age from 12 years to five weeks, would “be walking into danger” if they moved back to Kilrush and he is appealing for the council to house them in Ennis.
When contacted by The Clare Champion with Mr Sweeney’s claims, a spokesperson for Clare County Council stated the local authority does not comment on individual cases. The Department of Social Protection also responded that they do not comment on individual cases.
“We didn’t take the house on the grounds of protecting me and my family. I’m worried about my wife and my children. Now we’re out on the streets, with absolutely nowhere to go. I wouldn’t wish it on a dog. Whatever about myself staying in the car, it’s what the wife and kids are going through that is killing me,” Mr Sweeney said.
His wife, Margaret, stated, “On August 4, me and my husband, John, were made officially homeless. We had no other choice but to sleep in our car overnight at my brother’s house.
“My brother took my newborn baby in and my other two girls but that was all he could do. He gave us two quilts and made us as comfortable as he could. This is gone beyond a joke. My kids are embarrassed at this situation but it is not our fault. My husband was threatened in Kilrush and had to leave. Then the council offered us a house in Kilrush, which we had to refuse out of fear. We then got refused emergency accommodation because of this,” she added.
According to Mr Sweeney, Clare County Council proposed that two, two-bed bungalows, located at St Senan’s Terrace in Kilrush, be converted into a four-bedroom unit for the family, subject to funding and planning permission.
However, the council’s offer was turned down by the family. The Department of Social Protection then refused an application by the Sweeneys for assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme for emergency accommodation because they had refused the offer of accommodation.