Valerie Fahy, a single mother living in Charleville is due to be evicted from her home this week.

‘I can’t sleep and I can’t eat’

A 43 year old mother who is facing eviction in Charleville this week says that she is “absolutely devastated” that she and her children could be made homeless in the coming days.

Valerie Fahy, who is originally from Galway but has been living in Charleville for 13 years was issued with a termination of tenancy notice after the eviction ban was lifted earlier this year. “I was shocked but the landlord said that he wanted the house back for his family,” she told the Cork Independent.

Although she did ask the landlord for an extension, they said it wasn’t possible. This week, she, along with her teenage son and five year old daughter, are facing eviction.

“I have been trying in vain to get somewhere to live. One auctioneer told me for every house that becomes available that there could be 50 viewings. I’ve applied for social housing too,” she said.

“I am also engaging with Homeless Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to see if they can help me and they have been great. I haven’t had any success with local politicians here. It’s been tough, ” she added.

Ms Fahy says that the stress of potentially not having somewhere to live has taken its toll on her health. “I am mentally drained, I can’t sleep and I can’t eat. I’m hitting a brick wall everywhere I go. I have a five year old daughter who is starting school soon. How am I meant to explain to her that we are going to be homeless?” she said.

There are currently 68 modular homes due to be built in Charleville to house Ukranian refugees fleeing from war. Ms Fahy asked if similar developments could be built for families facing homelessness. “I’ve nothing against Ukranians or any foreign national. My issue is with our Government. I went to an information morning a few weeks ago in the library in Charleville and I was told that the living space wouldn’t be big enough for an Irish person. It makes no sense.”

Expressing her frustration, she criticised the Government for failing her and others who are on the brink of homelessness.

“I want Leo Varadkar to look me in the eye and tell me what I did to him to put me out on the road. It’s so unfair. I’m a single parent, I’m 43 years old and I never thought I’d be in this position in my life. Your home is your security. I’m absolutely devastated,” she said.

Ms Fahy says that moving back to Galway is not an option for her and she doesn’t want to leave the local area. “I’m in Charleville for a long time, it’s a small community, I love it here.”

She says that although she has plans for the future, she feels powerless as she is not in control of her own life. “I have a job sorted for when my daughter goes back to school, I’m trying to build up money and next year I want to do a psychology course in Mallow,” she said.

“I have plans for the future and I feel my life is on hold. The fate of my life and my children’s life is in someone else’s hands and it makes you feel very vulnerable. I don’t deserve this,” she added.

Speaking about those who might be facing eviction in the Charleville area, Cllr John Paul O’Shea encouraged them to engage with Cork County Council for assistance. He also said that there are a number of social housing developments currently underway in the area. “Charleville is one of the areas where there is a lot of social housing development going on at the moment. We have three separate housing developments that are currently happening and we probably have the bones of 40 houses coming on stream,” he said.

This week, there were no homes in Charleville and the surrounding areas available to rent on Homelessness rates reached recordbreaking levels in June, with the number of people in emergency accommodation reaching 12,600. During the second quarter of 2023, there was a 24.5% rise in families seeking assistance from homelessness services compared to the preceding three months.