Housing crisis: Cork family have to live 99km apart

Housing crisis: Cork family have to live 99km apart

Gretta Spooner with her 10-year-old daughter Alexia and her partner Grattan O’Rourke.

A FAMILY-of-three have found themselves living 99km apart because of the ongoing housing crisis and their inability to find a home in Cork.

Gretta Spooner, aged 34, is currently living in the box room of her mother’s home in Tipperary with her 10-year-old daughter Alexia, while her partner Grattan O’Rourke splits his time between sleeping at Collins Barracks, where he works, and his mother’s home in Ballincollig.

The pair has been searching for a family home to rent in Ballincollig for months, as they need to be in close proximity to Grattan’s mother who suffered a stroke six years ago.

Gretta recently began working in a nursing unit in Ballincollig and is currently commuting to and from the town from her mother’s home in Tipperary Town — a 200km round trip.

Her daughter has been accepted to Scoil Mhuire in Ballincollig and is due to start school next week. “Alexia is all sorted to move. She has her school and swimming club and I have my job, all we need is a house and we can’t seem to find one. Our deadline is next Friday and the stress of that is huge.”

The family are looking for a two or three bedroom house that would offer them the space to facilitate Grattan’s six-year-old son to come and stay. Gretta told the Evening Echo the family have been searching for a place in Ballincollig since January.

“It is very frustrating and stressful. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of options available. We have been looking online and we have been dealing with auctioneers and we can’t seem to find a place.”

Gretta spoke of the strain living apart is putting on her relationship with her partner.

“We don’t get to spend a lot of time together. We get days here and there, but that is about it. It can be hard.”

Acting manager of Threshold Edel Conlon said the story is typical of families finding it extremely difficult to source accommodation during the current housing crisis. “If you look at Daft.ie, you can see just eight properties for rent and all above the average rent in Cork County of €892.00,” said Ms Conlon.

“A one bedroom apartment is currently advertised for €1,150 in the Quadrants, €1,200-€1,300 a month for a two-bed apartment and 3-bed houses are being advertised for €1,450.

“Estate Agents in Ballincollig have lists of people waiting for properties to rent. If a family needs to rent a 3-bed property in the Ballincollig area and not be spending more than 30% of their income on rent their net pay would need to be in the region of €4,850 per month.”

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