'Privileged position' | 

‘Homeless’ TD fears partner’s use of medical cannabis may be putting off landlords

She said she is in a “privileged position” as a TD with a more than €100,000 salary plus expenses but insisted she still cannot find appropriate accommodation for her young family.

Clare Sinn Fein TD, Violet Ann Wynne and her partner John Montaine. PIC: John Mangan, Clare Echo

Philip Ryan

Former Sinn Féin TD Violet Anne Wynne fears her partner’s use of medical cannabis and their failure to pay rent at a previous rental property may be preventing them from finding a new home for her family.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Wynne also revealed her six children’s toys are being kept in storage while they live week to week in holiday homes that become available in her constituency of Clare.

She said she is in a “privileged position” as a TD with a more than €100,000 salary plus expenses but insisted she still cannot find appropriate accommodation for her young family.

“You feel like you’re failing as a parent because you have the means to pay the rent so I should be able to get somewhere to rent and it feels really out of my control but it should be something that I should be able to control,” she said.

Violet-Anne Wynne

Ms Wynne said claims her failure to pay rent at a previous property led to a dissolution of a non-profit housing organisation has “not (her) painted in a good light” and said it “crossed her mind” it could have added to her current problems in finding accommodation.

She said it is “factually incorrect” to say her failure to pay rent led to the dissolution of the organisation and said there were a series of issues with the property she was living in when her family moved to Clare in 2011. She said there were issues with heating, water and sewerage in the property and there were difficulties in getting someone to carry out the necessary work

“We were trying to find ways to pay contractors just to get necessary work on the heating, for example, and I am not justifying by any standards the fact that we did not pay our rent and it wasn't a situation that we had foreseen lasting for the length of time that it did,” she added

She is also concerned her partner’s well-publicised use of medical cannabis to treat his epilepsy may also be putting off potential landlords from renting to her family.

“I have considered is that why sometimes when I have applied I haven't heard back or if I've gone to a viewing and we weren't successful,” she said.

“All I can really say is that I'm surmising at this point because a lot of people who I've met and talked to or you know had those conversations with have been usually open-minded and supportive and especially when they hear my perspective on the situation and as far as my first-hand experience of seeing how successful it was in getting his seizures under control,” she added.

The first-time TD also said she has not been contacted by her former party after publicly revealing she had become homeless after being served with a notice to quit last year. She left the party earlier this year after complaining about being isolated from the organisation.

Ms Wynne said she also contacted Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien about her circumstances but has not heard from him.

The now Independent TD was living in a two-bedroom terrace house with her husband and six children up until last November when her landlord served her with a notice to leave the property.

She spent the last seven months seeking a new property in Clare, during which time she also gave birth to her sixth child in February. Ms Wynne said she had no problem with her former landlord who has been “more than generous” to her over the four years she lived there.

Separately, Ms Wynne said she was not shocked by the social media abuse she received after detailing her current plight.

“I would have been probably just as tough on public representatives prior to the election in fairness. I do think some of the information has been misinterpreted. I wasn't looking for sympathy. I did that video to create awareness around how difficult the rental market actually is,” she said.

“I did expect all types of commentary so I just take it on the chin,” she added.

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