Son of woman who died on the streets now faces homelessness with pregnant girlfriend

Kathleen O'Sullivan: Found dead in a doorway in Cork City.

A man whose mother died while sleeping rough in Cork last year says he is now on the verge of ending up on the streets with his pregnant girlfriend.

Kathleen O’Sullivan, 43, died on the streets of Cork on December 6 of last year. She was found huddled under blankets at a doorway in Anderson’s Quay in the city.

Her aunt Helen died in the same doorway while she was sleeping rough in 2010.

Edmund O’Sullivan, son of Kathleen, told Cork’s 96FM that his mother was a “proud” woman who would not ask family members for help.

“People think that because my mother died on the streets that she was an alcoholic or she used to take drugs,” he said. “My mother wasn’t like that. She could have come up to my house. She could have gone up to her sister’s house. She was just too proud. She wouldn’t ask. That was the way she was.”

Mr O’Sullivan, 24, said he was employed prior to his mother’s death last month. However, he is now suffering from depression and is not working. His current accommodation is too small for a baby and he needs to find a new place to rent.

However, he says that people on rent allowance and housing assistance payment (HAP) supplements are being discriminated against by landlords.

“I could find myself on the streets in a matter of weeks,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “There is nothing out there. I am very afraid. The place where my mother died, her aunt died in the exact same doorway. I go down and I lay flowers every second or third day.

“We are on every single day. When landlords hear about the HAP scheme or rent allowance they are hanging up on people. My girlfriend is having a baby in a few months and you can’t swing a cat in what we are living in.”

Ms O’Sullivan was the second homeless person to die in Cork last year. The body of 30-year-old Jennifer Dennehy was found in a tent at Gillabey Park near University College Cork last September. Ms Dennehy had been sleeping rough in a tent for a few days having been evicted from her apartment on Western Road in the city.


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