Cork mother blocks council in fight to house family

Martin and Marissa McCarthy in the bedroom of their mobile home at the Spring Lane halting site in Cork.

A mother of two has vowed to continue her obstruction of council staff at a Cork halting site until her wait for local authority housing comes to an end.

Sarah McCarthy lives in a two-bedroom mobile home with her partner Martin and children Martin, 6, and Marissa, 2, in Spring Lane Halting site in Ballyvolane on the northside of Cork City.

She says she has been waiting eight years for a council house and has not received a single offer.

It is understood that Cork City Council obtained court injunctions to evict a number of residents of the halting site so the council could carry out improvement works. Some of these residents were subsequently rehoused in Ballyvolane.

However, gardaí were called to Spring Lane yesterday after Ms McCarthy refused to give council workers access to a shed adjacent to her property which supplies electricity to a number of the site’s dwellings. Gardaí left the scene shortly before lunchtime.

Ms McCarthy sat in her car with her daughter, refusing the council workers access to the shed.

Ms McCarthy’s mother, Eileen Roche, said the family have a number of health and safety concerns relating to the site. A series of extension leads, which supply power to neighbouring mobile homes, are plugged into a panel on the outside wall of the shed.

Cork mother blocks council in fight to house family

They also say families were not adequately warned of a TB outbreak in the site a number of years ago, despite the council being aware of the problem.

Ms McCarthy comes from a settled family, while her partner is a member of the Travelling community.

They paid off a loan for their mobile home a number of years ago, but received a replacement when they lost it in a fire.

They have no running water in their mobile home and the children go to their grandmother’s home for showers. Ms Roche said it was her grandson’s “dream” to live in a house.

“The point of the whole matter is that she is eight years on the list and never had an offer,” said Ms Roche.

“It’s not like she’s refused or anything. She leaves the little one out to play out here but you have to be constantly out here.

“It’s not that we’re not happy that the other families have been housed, if that’s what they wanted, but I just think it’s discrimination. One of the girls that was housed was six months on the list, and we don’t understand why.”

Ms Roche said she is all the more angry at the intervention of gardaí given the events in Killiney, Co Dublin, where solicitor Brian O’Donnell has bene resisting a receiver’s order.

“The guards were meant to go in there yesterday and they didn’t,” said Ms Roche.

Cork City Council did not reply to queries at the time of going to press.

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