Lone mums in Direct Provision in Cork face potential eviction tomorrow.

Mums face Direct Provision eviction

“I don't want to take advantage of a system that I'm no longer entitled to.”

The words of mum of two, Natalie, who currently faces eviction from her Direct Provision accommodation on the Kinsale Road in Cork city.

Natalie, who came to Ireland from South Africa eight years ago with her two daughters, recently received a letter from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, saying she would be evicted from her current accommodation tomorrow, Friday.

She is one of many lone mothers in Cork and Ireland who have been granted international protection status, meaning they can no longer avail of Direct Provision.

Natalie said she is now at her wits' end having been unsuccessful in more than 4,000 attempts to find rental accommodation in Cork over the past three years.

“I have looked down every avenue. There is nothing that I would like more than to settle my family and stabilise them,” she told the Cork Independent.

Natalie, who works in Cork, has yet to receive an update regarding alternative accommodation and said she and a number of other families now remain in limbo. Her eldest daughter is studying accounting at MTU while her younger daughter is about to begin sixth year in secondary school.

Natalie continued: “People are feeling rather hopeless. They're really down, the mood is really low. We don't know where to go, what to do. The majority of us are single mums with children of all ages.”

As the eviction day looms, Natalie said she thinks families will stay put until alternative accommodation is arranged, or otherwise face possible homelessness or emergency accommodation.

“I don’t think that there will be any demand for us to move, that would be quite brutal. They sent a letter to say that they would be in touch, so that says to me, just remain where you are until you’re told otherwise,” she said.

ActionAid Ireland, an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty, is now calling on the Minister of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman to revoke eviction letters.

ActionAid CEO, Karol Balfe, said it is shocking for the women to get such a letter, with no offer of alternative accommodation in the area.

She said: “It is simply not acceptable to ask vulnerable women and children to be out of their accommodation. The threat of eviction and the looming deadline of 5 July is causing high levels of stress for the parents and their children.

“For years the families have tried to integrate into their communities through their schools and local sports clubs, and they are heartbroken at the prospect of facing another move to an unknown place,” added Ms Balfe.

An exemption to the 5 July deadline has been granted to people over 65 and to those with significant medical or welfare needs. ActionAid Ireland is asking that this exemption be extended to lone mothers.