Mum-of-nine living on beach just wants a home

Mum-of-nine living on beach just wants a home
The tented home of Keely Jones from Youghal who is living with eight of her children near the beach at Pilmore, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

THE mother-of-nine who has been camping with her family at a beach in Youghal for the last week says she is not looking for anything elaborate, she just wants a home for her family.

Keely Jones has criticised Cork County Council, who she says did not contact her to offer any support after her story became public.  

She and her children, including a six-month-old baby and three others under four, have been camping by the sea since June 21. The Youghal mum says she was forced to make the drastic move because she could not find suitable accommodation that would keep the family together.

They have been staying in a series of emergency accommodation, booked on a short-term basis since they lost their rented home because their landlord wanted to sell.

Ms Jones is keen to emphasize that she just wants a place to live that will keep her family together.

“I’m not looking for a big fancy house, I am just looking for a house that can be permanent,” she told the Evening Echo. 

“I would gladly take a three-bedroom house, we would all fit in somewhere, I am not being picky. I would take anywhere once it was local.” 

For a variety of reasons, the family would far prefer to stay in the area.

“My family is here, my whole support network and with nine kids I need that,” Ms Jones said. 

“If they move me away to the city, I am going to be on my own, I’m barely going to be able to get to the shops. Four under four, I can't even fit them all in a buggy.” 

The family had previously spent time renting in Cobh but because of circumstances beyond their control they returned to Youghal.

“I isolated myself and ended up getting agoraphobia; I have a few mental health issues as well,” Ms Jones said.

“It was very bad when we first came back to Youghal, with panic attacks. I don’t want to put myself in that position again where I panic. I can’t be a proper parent if I can't look after them, my mental health is important.” 

For now, her children are viewing it as a big adventure, and friends and family are providing huge support.

“It is a strain, we have two in nappies. But it is still better than the way we were doing things during the emergency housing.

“While the weather is nice we can all be together. I have people to come and take rubbish, nappies and things to make sure we are not causing any problems out here. We have friends taking the kids to get showers and bringing fresh water.” 

However, it is not a long-term solution. She said the Council have found accommodation in Dungarvan but it is only for a week, beginning on Sunday.

“After that we are back to square one if I pack all the camp up I'll only be packing again next week," she said.

When contacted, Cork County Council said it does not comment on the circumstances of individual housing applicants but a spokesperson said they understood Ms Jones has been informed of how to apply for emergency accommodation.

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