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‘Facing homelessness incredibly difficult to cope with’ – Wynne

CLARE TD Violet Anne Wynne this week posted a video saying her family have become homeless, and on Wednesday she told the Clare Champion that it is “probably the most stressful situation that anyone can find themselves in”.

Ms Wynne is a mother of six, with her youngest child born in February and she said the family are currently in a short term rental, but it’s only for a couple of weeks.

“We’re in a holiday home I was able to rent. It’s only for a specific time period, because we are in the summer season and there is a high demand for holiday homes at this time. It’s not only not sustainable, but it’s not available as an option going forward.”

She said while staying in the West Clare area is desirable for the family, it may not be possible.

“West Clare has been a great home to us for the last 11 years. We have children going to school in the West Clare area, I’ve one that was diagnosed with autism in 2017 and there was huge motivation there to keep himself with his peers, who he knows and loves, and to keep that consistent routine in place and the familiarity of the lifestyle.

“In our searches for rental properties it became quite obvious in a short period of time that availability of rental properties in the West Clare areas is even more limited than in other parts of Clare. We have extended the search beyond west Clare, but with no success.”

Asked if she found the situation stressful, she said, “Oh, it is, it’s probably the most stressful situation that anyone can find themselves in.

“It’s very negative, very uncertain. As a parent you almost feel like you’re failing, because you’re not able to provide the security of a home for your children and that’s incredibly difficult to deal with on a daily basis, just knowing that you’re facing homelessness, that you’re in that situation, it’s incredibly difficult to cope with.”

Just before the last general election it emerged that Ms Wynne had  owed over €12,000 in rent arrears to Rural Resettlement Ireland.

Ms Wynne later made a payment to resolve the matter, and the funds ultimately ended up with the West Clare Cancer Care Centre. 

She acknowledged that the coverage of that matter may affect her prospects of finding new accommodation now.

“I would imagine the negative coverage of the time gave people an impression that I was someone who was unwilling to pay rent.”

However, she said that there were a number of issues with the property she had been renting, which RRI were not necessarily in a position to resolve due to cuts in its funding.

“We didn’t intend not paying rent for that period of time (approximately four years) but we were dealing with a number of issues with the property, such as heating, there were water issues, sewerage issues and because the Government funding had been cut it stopped the organisation from being able to resolve any of those issues for the tenants. Everything just became incredibly difficult around living in that property.”

She said she had not revealed her situation on social media to garner sympathy and that she has the income to pay for a home.

“I wanted to highlight this is the situation that we’re in. We’re not the only ones in this situation, there are many others suffering in silence, there’s an awful lot of the population relying on the rental sector and that’s pushing up demand.

“There are just not enough rental properties out there to cater for everyone. It wasn’t put up for sympathy, or to say that we’re not able to pay rent now, obviously on my income I would be in a position to pay rent, I’ve been able to secure a holiday home for three weeks which can be costly.”

There was some negative reaction to the video she posted on Twitter and she said this was unsurprising.

“I know social media can be a free-for-all, I knew there’d be commentary and misunderstandings as well.”

She said that her children are coping quite well, but that it isn’t really suitable for them.

“All of our belongings are in storage so their familiar toys and keepsakes aren’t here, which makes it a bit harder for them.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.