Homeless dad in freezing caravan pleads for home

by Sylvia Pownall
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A MAN living in a caravan with no electricity, running water or heating has pleaded with the council to give him a home.

Patrick Reid wants a permanent roof over his head so he can get to see his eight-year-old daughter.

The 43 year old returned to his native Skerries to sleep rough after fleeing what he described as the “hell on earth” of homeless hostels in the centre of Dublin.

While staying at one hostel, Patrick was the subject of a serious assault and he was then moved to another emergency accommodation, where he had a room of his own. But he told The Gazette: “That was no better. I was constantly being beaten and robbed. I was terrified. My life was hell, I had to get out of there.”

Patrick said things started to get on top of him after his father died and he suffered a breakdown and split from his partner as a result.

He ended up on the streets and turned to drugs to ease the pain. Patrick has two grown-up children and one younger daughter who he hardly sees because of his circumstances.

The dad-of-three, who has been diagnosed as bipolar, said: “I need to be able to have somewhere for her to visit. It’s hard to get to see her. I do occasionally, but it’s too cold in the caravan – it’s absolutely freezing in the mornings.

“The substance abuse is behind me and I’m trying to get my life together. I was hoping to make a living working on the fishing boats.

“Friends have been very good to me. They try to help me by bringing me water and whatever, but what I need is a home.”

Cllr Tom O’Leary (FG), who has made representations on Patrick’s behalf, said: “He wants to stay in his own community where his family and friends are. All I can do is keep pushing it with the council and I’m not going to let it go.”

One of Patrick’s friends has challenged Fingal County Council over vacant houses on the Mourne Road in Skerries which he says should be offered to those in need without delay.

Joey Andrews told The Gazette: “I’m also waiting for a house, but it’s Paddy I’m worried about because it’s getting cold out, and he will die with the cold.”

A Fingal County Council spokesperson said: “The council is not in a position to comment on this case. However, we can state that we are in contact with the citizen in question with respect to his housing need situation and this contact will continue.”

The local authority said that of four vacant dwellings on Mourne Road, pre-let works had been completed on two and these were expected to be occupied within days.

The remaining houses, a two-bed and a three-bed, will be available “shortly”, pending repairs.  [email protected]

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