Homeless couple travelling 6 hours a day on 8 buses just to get kids to school

Warren Flood and Samantha Donohue with Romie (1), Abbie (7) and Harrison (5)
Warren Flood and Samantha Donohue with Romie (1), Abbie (7) and Harrison (5)

A HOMELESS couple have to take eight buses and travel for more than six hours a day to take their children to school.

Warren Flood and his partner Samantha Donohue are living in the Maldron Hotel on the Naas Road with their children Abbie (8), Harrison (5) and one-year-old Romey.

They want to be moved nearer to their children’s school in the city. The family became homeless a year ago and spent six months living in the Belvedere Hotel in the city centre.

However, in March the homeless services of Dublin City Council placed them in a room at the west Dublin hotel. Abbie and Harrison attend Stanhope Street primary school in Stoneybatter, a short walk from where the family lived.

The couple now face daily starts at 6.30am, spend more than €75 a week on bus fares and can spend more than six hours a day on public transport.

They take a bus with the children to the city then another to the school and then return home. The process is repeated in the evening.

“We are looking for somewhere to live and somewhere closer to the kid’s education,” Mr Flood told the Herald.

“It can take over an hour for the bus to get into the city and the kids are getting in late for school. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We can’t take them out of school. It’s Abbie’s communion year and she needs to be there.”

The family have made a request to be moved into accommodation closer to the school, but this has not happened.

A council spokeswoman told the Herald they were doing everything within their capacity to “facilitate families’ access to schools”.

“Before 2013, emergency accommodation would normally have been provided through statutory or voluntary services,” she said.

“But an unparalleled demand for accommodation has required that Dublin local authorities use hotels across the region to avoid the experience of sleeping rough.

“Dublin City Council is under significant strain.”

Martin Grant