Council ‘violating my family’s human rights’, says mother

Council ‘violating my family’s human rights’, says mother
Rose Jones, outside a boarded up council house in Togher.

THE mother of a disabled teenager who is seeking suitable accommodation for her daughter has written a letter to Cork City Council in which she claims the local authority is in violation of her family’s human rights.

Rose Jones’ 13-year-old daughter, Patricia, suffers from spina bifida and is blind in one eye.

Rose Jones and her daughter Patricia O'Connor at their home off Grattan Street. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Rose Jones and her daughter Patricia O'Connor at their home off Grattan Street. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The family live at St Peter’s Avenue, off Grattan Street, in a three-storey property.

There is no downstairs toilet or bedroom in the property for Patricia, who uses a wheelchair.

Patricia has fallen down the stairs in their current home — where they have lived since 2014 — and has had to start wearing nappies again as she finds it hard to access the first-floor toilet.

Rose’s teenage son, daughter and adult daughter and her child also live in the house.

Ms Jones is seeking a transfer to adapted housing for her and her dependent children and has been on the council’s transfer list since May 2016.

However, City Hall housing regulations stipulate a housing transfer must involve the surrender of tenancy of the property the tenant is currently in and Ms Jones says this would render her non-dependent children homeless.

Ms Jones has previously been made aware of a four-bed adapted home in Hollyhill, but she said she could not accept it as it is too far away from her family supports on the south side of the city.

“We are in a three-storey property where the only bathroom is on the first floor – I have to carry Patricia to it, which is increasingly difficult for me,” she said.

“Our home is overcrowded and is well below the minimum standards in several respects.

“I consider the council is in violation of our human rights and disability rights due to its failure to resolve our situation – the matter has been ongoing for years,” she added.

County Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, who has an office in the city, said he and Ms Jones have identified two properties owned by the council that they believe can be adapted to suit Patricia’s needs, on the Togher Road and Lower Friars Walk.

“The City Council has earlier offered the excuse that they were waiting for a suitable property to become available for Rose – but there are plenty of properties, like those visited, that could be adapted for disability access,” he said.

“It is clear to me that City Council has neglected its responsibility, for whatever reason, but they should now move urgently to provide proper facilities for Rose and her family,” he added.

When contacted for comment, Cork City Council said it will “continue to consider the family for the offer of suitable properties as they become available for letting.”

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