'Terrified' pregnant woman will spend Christmas sleeping in car - Sinn Féin

There are a record number of people living in emergency accommodation.
James Wilson
James Wilson

15.41 13 Dec 2023

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'Terrified' pregnant woman wil...

'Terrified' pregnant woman will spend Christmas sleeping in car - Sinn Féin

James Wilson
James Wilson

15.41 13 Dec 2023

Share this article

A “terrified” pregnant woman and her partner will spend Christmas sleeping in their car if they are evicted, Mary Lou McDonald has told the Dáil. 

Last month’s homeless figures revealed there were a record 13,179 people living in emergency accommodation and Sinn Féin has tabled a motion calling for the introduction of a new eviction ban

At Leader’s Questions today, the Sinn Féin President described life in Ireland as “hard for renters” and said no family should spend Christmas in emergency accommodation. 


She raised the case of Damien and Amy who are expecting their first child and have recently received an eviction notice. 

“They’ve desperately searched for alternative rented accommodation but to no avail,” Deputy McDonald said.

“They now face the prospect of being homeless at Christmas.” 

The Sinn Féin President said the couple are “angry, broken and terrified” about what will happen to them. 

“Damien and Amy say they will have no choice but to sleep in their car,” she said. 

“These harrowing stories, Taoiseach, are replicated across the country.” 

'They both feel betrayed'

Deputy McDonald said she was also aware of a woman called Louise who has lived with her family in the same property for 10 years but now faces eviction. 

“Her landlord is willing to sell the house to the council but Louise is not being considered for the Tenant in Situ scheme,” she said. 

“She and her children face losing what has been their home for a decade.” 

She also spoke of other families facing eviction with very young children.

“Lily and her five-year-old daughter face eviction from their home on New Year’s Day,” Deputy McDonald said. 

“This little girl goes on Christmas holidays from school next week, not knowing if she’ll be back with her class in January or where she’ll be living.

“Barry, Eimear and their new baby face eviction; Eimear says the experience has taken a serious toll on their mental health and has left Barry, who is a hardworking and committed frontline worker, feeling defeated as a father.

“They both feel betrayed as working, tax paying citizens.”

'A glut of evictions'

Responding to Deputy McDonald’s question, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar acknowledged that Christmas can be a “stressful” time for families. 

He disagreed, however, that an eviction ban would be the “correct” solution to record levels of homelessness.

“All we’ll end up [with] then is a glut of evictions in April, May and June, which will be even harder to deal with,” he said. 

“We don’t want that to be the case. 

“Secondly, we know from the last temporary eviction ban, one that I voted for and introduced as Tánaiste at the time, is that the number of people in emergency accommodation didn’t fall. 

“It continued to rise during that period.” 

Mr Varadkar said the best way to tackle the housing crisis is to “ramp up investment” in social housing. 

A Sinn Féin motion on reintroducing an eviction ban will be voted on by TDs this evening; a similar motion in March was defeated by 81 votes to 67.

Main image: Mary Lou McDonald. Picture by:

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