A PREGNANT and homeless 20-year-old woman is sleeping rough in a tent in Bantry.
Mary Burke, a member of the Travelling community from Waterford, is calling on Cork County Council to provide her and her husband, John, with emergency accommodation.
Mary said they relocated to Bantry two months ago after living in Tralee for 10 years.
She said they left because the house they were living in was overcrowded.
It was, she said, her home, but with 13 to 14 people sharing four rooms, it was ‘seriously overcrowded.’
However, they found themselves in the same situation when they moved in with relatives in Bantry about two months ago.
Within two weeks, they had moved out and are now living in a tent.
Mary, who is two months pregnant, said she and her husband walk around aimlessly in shops and supermarkets in Bantry in a bid to stave off the cold and damp.
According to Mary, Council housing officials are trying to find her a private rented home through the Housing Assistance Payment (Hap) scheme.
But she is calling for an immediate ‘emergency accommodation’ placement while the search goes on.
She said she does not understand the reasons the Council says she does not fit the homeless criteria.
Mary said her husband has very bad back issues as a result of a car accident and they are desperate for help.
They have produced a letter from their GP and told Council officials it is their understanding that emergency accommodation is available in Glengarriff.
‘I’m looking for any help because we don’t have any friends or family to stay with,’ she said, ‘and we’re getting sick and our mental health is deteriorating extremely fast.’
Cork County Council said it does not comment on individual cases.