by Jerome Hughes
A young couple, living in a caravan close to Letterkenny’s Polestar Roundabout, claim they are at breaking point in their quest to secure housing from Donegal County Council, just as temperatures plummet in the lead-up to Christmas.
Sinéad Brown and Martin Reilly, together for 17 years, describe the past three months as a period of sheer torment, living on the side of a busy road with no running water or toilet facilities, relying solely on an old generator for electricity.
“The cold has become unbearable. We woke up yesterday and it was -1 degrees. There are air vents on the floor so we wake up freezing.” explained Sinéad.
Donegal News has seen evidence of vermin on the grounds where the couple live and highlighted their plight several weeks ago. Things have not improved since then. In fact, Sinéad says they’ve gotten much worse.
“Martin’s mental health has really deteriorated. I can’t convince him that there’s a point in getting out of bed. Christmas is almost here and we are running out of hope. I’m not even sure if our generator will hold out until Christmas.
“My physical health is also getting worse. I’ve arthritis. When I go to the doctor I can’t stop crying, and he can’t believe that we are still in this situation.
“We’re always on edge and have started picking on each other more and more. Sometimes we fight and go to friends but we just want to be together at the end of the day.” said an emotional Sinéad.
Donegal County Council says it does not comment on individual cases.
However, Sinéad read out a letter to us which she claims is correspondence from a county council official.
It states, ‘I am currently reviewing your housing application with the area manager and will be in further contact in this regard upon completion of the review.’