A Kerry mother who is facing homelessness within weeks says she has “absolutely nowhere to go” due to the high numbers of properties being used for Airbnb.
Cahersiveen native Lisa O’Shea is facing eviction from her rental home within a fortnight, after living there for the past 12 years.
She has been offered a council house in the area – but turned the offer because it was 'too small' to hold all the belongings she has accumulated over the past decade.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, she said she was not prepared to reduce her belongings “just because our Government has let down our country with what’s going on with housing”.
“At the moment, I’m packing but there’s nowhere to go,” she said. “There’s absolutely nowhere to go.”
“There are around 43 properties alone up in Cahersiveen for Airbnb – and we are a very small town.
“There are 43 properties just on Airbnb and there are other websites then that have more holiday homes and then you have a lot of people doing it off the grid or whatever
“Then there are so many properties - like so many other towns in rural Ireland - that are just empty. They are derelict and just not used. They’re just sitting there. There’s nobody living in them.
“The Government has to do something about that and free up properties for people to buy.”
Ms O’Shea said she turned down the council home because it only had two bedrooms – a step down from the four-bed property she has been living in for the last decade.
“It was just the size of it,” she said. “Compared to what I was in, it just won’t take everything I have – all my furniture and my belongings.”
“I have been in a fairly decent sized four-bed house and it’s not about how many bedrooms are in it, it’s just that extra space.
“I run my own salon so I have my office here and you know, imagine all the furniture you would have in your house that you have been living in for 12 years – you know, I’m nearly 40 so you can imagine what you have.
“I have my daughter. So, it just wasn’t an option.”
She said her goal has always been to purchase her own home; however, the housing crisis has made that impossible in the short term.
“I decided years ago that I didn’t want to be depending on social housing,” she said. “I want to buy my own house. That’s where I was at. That’s where my goal is at.
“It’s not being snobby. It is not being, oh I want a bigger house.”
Ms O’Shea said she has worked too hard acquiring her belongings to get rid of them now.
“A politician recently said to me, stuff is only stuff,” she said.
“I get that, but I have worked for everything I have. I have struggled for everything I have. So, I’m not prepared to get rid of what I’ve worked for because our government has let down our country with what’s going on with housing here.”