Pregnant newlywed forced to live in car after court order leaves her homeless says she fears for unborn child’s health

A newlywed mum-to-be said she fears for her unborn child’s health after a court order left them homeless, and forced them to live in their car.

Anxious Margaret O’Reilly, 22, said she and husband Nicholas can’t find affordable accommodation after they were forced to dispose of their caravan.

The pair were given an order to remove it from council land in Cork city, Ireland, the Irish Mirror reports.

They say they can’t find affordable accommodation in the private rented sector despite being offered €610 (£532) a month in Housing Assistance Payments.

Margaret worked with the Traveller Visibility Group until her contract ran out and her husband is unemployed.

She told the Irish Examiner : “I’m five months pregnant and can’t put the car seat back because our belongings are in the back of the car.

“I want to have proper facilities for my baby. I attended a hospital appointment and I told them about our situation and they were fuming.

“If it isn’t resolved by September, I won’t leave the hospital after our baby is born until there is a house available for us.”

The Green Party’s Oliver Moran said he was shaken by Margaret’s plight. He told the Irish Mirror: “It was quite appalling to turn her and her family out on the road.

“What circumstance will that child grow into?

“The imbalance of power between Margaret, her husband and the county council and judicial system shook me.

“They are in a very vulnerable situation. They may have been on land illegaly but what was done after is the most shocking. There didn’t seem to be any plan with what to do with them.

“People on HAP and some very wealthy people are struggling in the private rental market.”

Margaret said they cannot stay with Nicholas’ parents because there are 11 people living there and her own halting site is chronically overcrowded.

She added: “We are homeless but the city council won’t declare us homeless so we can get help from the homeless unit.”

The distraught couple told how they had to get rid of their caravan because they had nowhere to store it.

Margaret said: “Cork County Council was given consent to remove the caravan by crane. I cried that I had no home to sleep in.”

The council’s head of housing, Brian Geaney said in cases of trespass, it will try to deal
with the matter amicably.

A Cork City Council spokesman said: “If a resolution cannot be reached between the parties, the city council has no other option but to apply to the courts for an injunction.

“In all cases, Cork City Council will work with the families involved to assist them in finding alternative accommodation which can include private rented accommodation through HAP scheme and advise them of homeless services available.”