The O’Reilly family – William, John, Martin, Noreen, William, Timmy, Patrick and Angel, aged 5, who has to sleep the cot in their two bedroom house in Deebert View, Kilmallock | Picture: Adrian Butler
A COUNTY Limerick mum-of-seven says she is “at the end of her tether” as she and her family are “cooped up like chickens” in a two bedroom house.
Noreen and William O’Reilly have been living in the council property for 10 years.
“I'm on the council list for the last five years. I've been put on the priority list. They have never offered me one place. I'm telling them straight that I need a four bedroom house and you can see where I am coming from. I am at the end of my tether,” said Noreen.
Their living accommodation comprises a sitting room and kitchen in one, one toilet and two bedrooms.
The couple have six of their children between the ages of two and 12 living with them. Their eldest daughter, also Noreen, aged 21, moved out after she got married three years. Angel, 5, has to sleep in a cot, says her mum.
“She can't stretch out,” said Noreen.
The children are William and Martin, 12-year-old twins; John and Timothy, 9-year-old twins; Angel, 5, and Patrick, 2.
“I have four boys in one room in bunk beds. Myself and my husband and my two and a half-year-old son are in the one bed, and my five-year-old daughter is in a cot,” said Noreen, who also complains of mould and damp in the house. “We’re in a very bad situation,” she added.
Noreen said her eldest daughter had to sleep in the same room with the four older boys.
“She had no privacy in the house. When I came in here first I had my daughter and my two boys and I was expecting my second set of twins so that was five. It isn't like the council didn't know that. I’ve been trying to get someone down to look at it. I’ve been constantly ringing them and they tell me I'm on the priority list.”
The family has a number of health issues.
“My husband suffers from depression and I have a little boy, aged 12, with ADHD. My five-year-old daughter has a heart condition and my two and a half-year-old is getting stents in his legs next month.” She says they can’t afford to move into private rented accommodation.
“We have no way of going out on our own. William can’t work with the depression. If we had the money we would be out of here long ago. The only way is if we won the Lotto!” said Noreen, who wants to remain in the Kilmallock area as five of her children attend school in the town.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council say they do not comment on an individual’s dealings with the local authority as they feel it is “inappropriate to discuss personal matters in a public forum”.
“It is important to point out that should a tenant or customer have a concern or issue, relevant staff are available to discuss their case. All qualified housing applicants are entitled to avail of the HAP scheme. To date, in excess of 1,800 tenancies are being supported by HAP throughout Limerick City and County Council. This is in addition to housing units being provided by the local authority through its own building programme, recovery and repair of voids and also in conjunction with partnerships developed with approved housing bodies,” said the spokesperson.