Pregnant woman forced to sleep on the floor
AN eight-months pregnant woman says she is being forced to sleep on a floor in a tiny Wexford house, where nine other members of her family are living.
Mary Berry, aged 20, says she has been searching for several months to find somewhere to live, however, while she has approached local auctioneers on several and many occasions, she has still to have even one viewing. The reason for this she says is simple:
'It's because I'm a Traveller.
'I had one woman who put the phone down on me when I said I was a Traveller, another asked me if I minded living next to Travellers who were just around the corner. When I said I was a Traveller, you can imagine what she said,' said Mary, who says she has become unwell because of the way she is being forced to live.
'My family hails from Wexford. My two cousins got All-Ireland plaques for handball and everybody in the town was happy about that, but I'm being ignored and snubbed because I'm homeless and a Traveller.'
Mary's is the latest in a series of such issues in Wexford, where accommodation for people living on the margins is increasily hard to find. Many landlords will not even entertain would-be tenants when they hear they are on rent allowance and in one recent case, a woman only managed to find a house after disguising the fact that she was a member of the Travelling community.
'It's out and out racism,' said Aislin Wallace, from the Wexford Housing Action Group which has been trying to find suitable accommodation for disadvantaged people.
Mary says she is totally frustrated and worried about where her baby is going to live.
'It would just break your, I'm eight months pregnant with my first baby.. this should be the happiest time in your life.. I should be collecting a cot, but even if I had one, I have nowhere to out it.'
She said she recently been put on the council housing waiting list, but was no optimistic.
To get some space, Mary says she has been moving between her car and the house in Newlands, but for the past six months has been sleeping on the floor. Before moving to the house, Mary said she lived in a caravan at her grandparents' house, but the council had said the caravan should not there and gave her 72 hours to move. 'My family hails from Wexford. My two cousins got All-Ireland plaques for handball and everybody in the town was happy about that, but I'm being ignored and snubbed because I'm homeless and a Traveller.. the council is getting millions from the government for the Travelling community, but they are not spending it and are just sending it back, there's something very wrong with that,' she said. Anyone able to help with accommodation can reach Aislin Wallace on 086 8843975.